Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m. EST  |  Arena: Air Canada Centre |  TV: Sportsnet |  Radio: SN 590


Game Day Quotes

Mike Babcock on Nazem Kadri returning to the lineup:

You’ve got to remember, we had Christmas break and then I think he played two shifts. So, we’ve got to watch him closely. He’ll have to have those feet going.

Babcock on what he wants to see from Frederik Gauthier in his season debut tonight and his year in the AHL so far:

Well, I’ve liked Freddy in the NHL more than I’ve liked him in the American League the whole time he’s been here. He’s played good for us when he’s been here. We had to do things in the summer because he got injured, and we always planned on him ideally having an opportunity to play on this team. Now it’s real simple: He’s got to play well defensively, he’s got to penalty kill, he’s got to win faceoffs, and he’s got to be abusive. If he can do all those things, he can play everyday here.

Babcock on what he needs to see from Connor Carrick for him to become an everyday player:

He’s got to play quicker. He’s got to play harder, got to be more assertive, and got to be better defensively. You know, these are all things he and I talk about on a regular basis. You know, some guys are just in every night, no matter what they do. They’ve just earned the right. Other guys are on a tryout every night, and they think it’s going to end after one year, and it usually last about 10. You see it all the time. It’s not necessarily the most skilled guys; the guy with the most drive train becomes a real good pro and plays everyday. So, the ball is in his court. When you’re in those positions, there’s someone in the minors trying to take your job every single day.

Babcock on having to play Tampa Bay four times in the second half of the year:

I like playing the good teams. I like to think that we’re a good team. I think, early, we thought we were a good team. I think we can be a good team. There’s no question we’re not deep enough to sustain a bunch of injuries. We said that in the past and I think it’s affected us. All you do is look at what we did in the first half, put it in the bank, and you get ready for the second half. It’s the real one. We’ve got to get a lot better if we’re going to keep playing. That’s just the way it is.

Babcock on if he enjoys measuring himself against the best teams:

I like when you’re playing your best and you play the best. So I like to be playing at your best and then you get the best challenges. Sometimes you’re not playing your best, sometimes you are. Tonight’s a good opportunity for our team, though, and we’re excited to play. I mean, we got our lunch fed to us the other day. They skated by us like we were standing still in the first period. On the first three shifts, we dominated the game. After that, we gave up ten scoring chances in the first period. I can’t even remember in my first year if we gave up ten scoring chances in a first period. I’d never even heard of that.

Morgan Rielly on his former teammate Brayden Point:

[Point]’s a great player. I could kind of tell right away once I got to know him and got to play with him in Moose Jaw that he was going to be a special player. People have always doubted him because of his size, but he’s a very hardworking person and a smart player and you can see it in his play.

Nazem Kadri on recovering from his injury:

Kind of had some whiplash there with some neck soreness and some upper-body soreness. So, for the most part, I think that was it. The next couple of shifts, I just didn’t feel my best, so the medical staff thought they’d pull me. I went through the protocol and everything’s great right now.


Matchup Stats

 TORTB
Record23-15-228-8-2
GF/g3.33 (4th)3.74 (1st)
GA/g2.92 (20th)2.42 (2nd)
PP%22.1% (5th)
25.7% (1st)
PK%82.7% (10th)79.1% (23rd)
Shots/g30.7 (21st)32.4 (10th)
Shots Against/g33.8 (29th)31.3 (12th)
5v5 CF%49.4% (17th)52.3 (8th)
5v5 SV%.924 (13th).940 (1st)
5v5 SH%9.6% (1st)9.2% (3rd)

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup

*We have added goal, assist, and point totals for each player below the lines. Total goals per line are indicated, too, as well as save percentage for goalies.

Forwards

Hyman – Matthews – Nylander
  (40-7-14-21) – (30-17-14-31) – (40-8-20-28) Total: 32
Marleau – Kadri – Komarov
(40-15-9-24) – (38-13-10-23) – (39-4-6-10)  Total: 32
Van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Marner
  (39-17-10-27) – (39-7-13-20) – (40-5-24-29) Total: 29
Martin – Gauthier – Brown
 (38-3-7-9) – (0-0-0-0) – (40-10-6-16)  Total: 13

Defencemen

Rielly – Hainsey
 (40-4-24-27) – (40-3-13-16) Total: 7
Gardiner – Carrick
 (40-3-16-19) – (21-2-2-4) Total: 5
Borgman – Polak
(38-2-7-9) – (21-2-5-5) Total: 4

Goaltenders

Andersen (.923 sv%)
McElhinney (.916 sv%)

Scratched: Moore, Marincin
Injured: 
Soshnikov, Zaitsev


Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lineup

Forwards

Namestnikov – Stamkos – Kucherov
  (38-15-18-33) – (38-17-32-49) – (38-25-31-56) Total: 57
Palat – Point – Johnson
(38-7-17-24) – (38-16-20-36) – (37-12-17-29) Total: 35
Killorn – Gourde – Conacher
  (38-4-17-21) – (38-11-14-25) – (14-2-2-6) Total: 17
Kunitz – Paquette – Brown
 (38-5-5-10) – (23-0-2-2) – (21-1-3-4) Total: 6

Defencemen

Hedman – Dotchin
 (38-4-25-29) – (28-2-5-7) Total: 6
Sergachev – Stralman
 (38-8-17-25) – (36-4-7-11) Total: 12
Coburn – Girardi
 (32-0-7-7) – (38-2-7-9) Total: 2

Goaltenders

 Vasilevskiy (.935 sv%)
Domingue (.878 sv%)

Injured: Condra, Budaj