"I know some people perceive it as a demotion and we didn't look at it that way," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "We look at it as trying to add some balance to our lineup and with Trevor Smith playing very well for us, we thought that that would be a boost for Clarkson."
Defenseman Cody Franson missed the Maple Leafs' previous game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday and skated briefly during the morning skate. Carlyle said he'll be a game-time decision. James Reimer was the first goalie off at morning skate and likely will start.
The Sharks head into the game having won five in a row. The only change in their lineup will see forward John McCarthy sit out in favor of forward James Sheppard. Captain Joe Thornton took a puck in the eye Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks but will play.
"I'm taking his word and the trainers' word that he can see," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said.
Antti Niemi was first off for the Sharks and will start.
One major difference between the teams comes in the shot category. The Sharks lead the League in shots per game and the Maple Leafs are last in shots allowed.
"I think as a goaltender, the more shots you get the more you're in the game," Reimer said. "At the same time, you don't want 40 shots in the slot. San Jose is a good team and you hear reports they shoot the puck a lot, so as a goaltender you just have to be ready. You have to be ready for anything. The puck can come from any angle and you have to do your best to control your rebounds so they don't get second opportunities. They're obviously a really good team and we're going to have to be sharp, myself included."
Here's the projected lineups: