It’s Puckin Game Day | Coyotes @ Maple Leafs

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Even with a few players not feeling well there’s still an opportunity for the Toronto Maple Leafs to capitalize on tonight. The Florida Panthers, the team with the biggest chance to knock the Leafs out of the playoff picture, have stumbled their way through February. After a loss last night at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers, they are 1-4-1 in February, with their lone win coming against the Maple Leafs. That was a game that saw the Leafs go up 3-1 early in the 3rd period, only to surrender 4 unanswered goals, and drop the game 5-3.

It was also the game that saw an injury to Frederik Andersen, leaving Michael Hutchinson to man the nets, and eventually force Kyle Dubas into (finally) trading for an upgrade at the backup position. Jack Campbell, tonights starting goaltender, has looked good in his first two starts for his new team.

The Leafs needs points badly right now if they want to separate themselves from the pack, and taking it to a Coyotes team that has also had middling results in February (2-2-1) is imperative. This is where the Leafs’ killer instinct needs to shine through.

The flu bug couldn’t have hit the Maple Leafs locker room at a more inconvenient time:

While it’s questionable if we’ll see John Tavares or Justin Holl, it’s expected that William Nylander will make his return to the lineup after being sidelined for 2 games due to an illness:

No matter who is in or out, the main thing is this team needs to put the pedal to the floor and not let up, even in the 3rd.

Maple Leafs Projected Line Up

11 Zach Hyman – 34 Auston Matthews – 16 Mitchell Marner

15 Alexander Kerfoot – 91 John Tavares – 88 William Nylander

18 Andreas Johnsson – 47 Pierre Engvall – 24 Kasperi Kapanen

73 Kyle Clifford –  33 Frederik Gauthier – 19 Jason Spezza

23 Travis Dermott – 94 Tyson Barrie

8 Jake Muzzin – 3 Justin Holl

38 Rasmus Sandin – 37 Timothy Liljegren

36 Jack Campbell

Michael Hutchinson

Scratches: Dmytro Timashov, Martin Marincin

Injuries: Ilya Mikheyev – wrist, Morgan Rielly – foot,  Cody Ceci – ankle, Frederik Andersen – neck

Coyotes Projected Line Up

91 Taylor Hall – 18 Christian Dvorak – 83 Conor Garland

67 Lawson Crouse – 21 Derek Stepan – 81 Phil Kessel

9 Clayton Keller – 8 Nick Schmaltz – 13 Vinnie Hinostroza

34 Carl Soderberg – 15 Brad Richardson – 36 Christian Fischer

23 Oliver Ekman-Larsson – 46 Ilya Lyubushkin

6 Jakob Chychrun – 33 Alex Goligoski

82 Jordan Oesterle – 4 Niklas Hjalmarsson

31 Adin Hill

32 Antti Raanta

Scratched: Michael Grabner, Aaron Ness

Injured: Jason Demers – oblique, Darcy Kuemper – lower body

A message from Offside Hockey Talks James on Tonight’s Game: