TORONTO (33-23-15) at COLUMBUS (47-18-6)
7:00 pm (SN)
Perhaps Darren Dreger said it best on TSN’s Leafs Breakfast . . . “Any team facing the Maple Leafs should be concerned.”
Let’s be honest. A year ago this kind of headline was not a part of the Leaf vernacular. Nor should it have been. This year it is different.
Do you feel it? It is a different mood. There is a legitimate perception that the Leafs are a team to be concerned about if you are the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Leafs are 5-1-1 over the past seven games playing some quality competition in Tampa, Boston and Chicago to name a few.
Tonight’s game will be a tough one though. The rejuvenated Blue Jackets are going to the playoffs under the tutelage of head coach John Tortorella. At 100 points, 8-2-0 over their past ten and winners of four straight, Columbus is hitting all gears just at the right time.
The Leafs sit in the final wild card playoff spot. A win tonight would vault the Leafs into third place in the Atlantic Division and still have a game in hand on the Boston Bruins.
Eric Fehr makes his Maple Leaf debut tonight replacing Soshnikov on the fourth line. Social media posts are questioning why Leivo has not been inserted into the lineup given the tight playoff race. Babcock stated this morning that Soshnikov is banged up a bit and that the coach has been looking for a reason to put the veteran Fehr into the lineup to see what he can bring.
If the Leafs can limit scoring chances in their own end like their game against Chicago a few nights back, then the offence will take care of itself.
What do you think Leafs Nation? Discuss among yourselves.
Projected Line Combinations
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Hyman — Matthews — Nylander
Komarov — Kadri — Brown
van Riemsdyk — Bozak — Marner
Martin — Boyle — Fehr
Rielly — Carrick
Gardiner — Zaitsev
Hunwick — Polak
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Jenner — Dubinsky — Anderson
Saad — Gagner — Atkinson
Foligno — Karlsson — Bjorkstrand
Hartnell — Sedlak — Calvert
Werenski — Jones
Johnson — Savard
Quincey — Harrington
Babrovsky — Korpisalo
Mike Babcock — Morning Skate — 03/22/2017