The Maple Leafs are back tonight for a follow-up to Monday’s blowout win over the Lightning. The energy in town seems to be picking up around Game #2 after the first win. I think even the most cynical Leafs playoff fans were thrilled with this huge victory. The weather will also change this afternoon, with the rain ending at noon, so expect huge crowds to turn up in York and Bremner this evening, and road closures to start early.
The Leafs don’t even need a blowout repeat here; any kind of win to put them up 2-0 before the series moves to Florida for the weekend will be a huge boost. I fear the Lightning will recover significantly once they have their home crowd behind them.
One Leaf we know won’t be playing tonight is Kyle Clifford who was suspended for this game by the league.
There is expected to be a morning skate where news will be released on Clifford’s replacements and other possible roster changes for the game. There’s that old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and while that aphorism may hold, if Michael Bunting is ready to come back from his injury, it will take a few moves. Sheldon Keefe usually clings to these changes as a state secret in the playoffs so I wouldn’t be surprised if Keefe says Bunting is a ‘game time decision’ so he can dismiss John Cooper with the way he puts the team together tonight.
On the other hand, we wonder how Morgan Rielly is doing.
Morgan Rielly on last night’s fight:
“It’s not something I know too much about. But, it’s a bit of a scrum and I didn’t think there was anything offside. Just a matter of playoff intensity.
How’s his hand?
– Mark Masters (@markhmasters) May 3, 2022
He says that’s “good”, but notice he’s hidden his hand in the pocket of the hoodie so no one can see it.
Tonight’s game is another 7:30 p.m. start. We’ll get our full preview of the game this afternoon
The first round is always so fun and full of wild games and last night did not disappoint. The Pittsburgh Penguins game against the New York Rangers ended in a ridiculous third overtime. While Shesterkin made 79 saves in the game, he couldn’t finish it with an 80th. Our old Leafs friend Kasperi Kapanen got the second assist on this one.
The Penguins brought in Louis Domingue after Casey DeSmith was injured in that game. You might recall Domingue being a lifelong journeyman goaltender famous for absolutely loving playing the puck, even if it means wandering away from the net. He also bakes pies for his teammates. I’m serious!
The Colorado Avalanche completely destroyed the Nashville Predators, exactly as expected;
but the heavily favored Florida Panthers actually lost their opener to the Washington Capitals and now everyone is backtracking on their predictions for this series;
and the Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars series turned into a gong show in less than 20 minutes, with Matthew Tkachuk right in the middle of it all, exactly as planned. I’m using the French clip here because YouTube slapped a content warning for violence on the English video posted by Sportsnet which prevents it from being embedded. I am not joking. Tkachuk is so out of control that he even drove YouTube’s algorithm crazy.
The Flames won that game 1-0, for the record.