Tonight's officials will be Ghislain Hebert and Justin St. Pierre. Shane Heyer and Tim Nowak will handle the linesman duties. 4:00 PM:
Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets...
Toronto Maple Leafs
23 Matthias - 43 Kadri - 28 Boyes
21 van Riemsdyk - 42 Bozak - 47 Komarov
26 Winnik - 16 Spaling - 19 Lupul
40 Grabner - 24 Holland - 15 Parenteau
51 Gardiner - 3 Phaneuf
44 Rielly - 2 Hunwick
46 Polak - 36 Harrington
Columbus Blue Jackets
20 Saad - 16 Johansen - 71 Foligno
38 Jenner - 17 Dubinsky - 13 Atkinson
43 Hartnell - 25 Karlsson - 18 Bourque
11 Calvert - 9 Campbell - 23 Clarkson
7 Johnson - 58 Savard
27 Murray - 29 Goloubef
51 Tyutin - 47 Prout
3:45 PM: Leafs TV also caught up with Michael Grabner and Scott Harrington today in Columbus. Take a look...
3:30 PM: Leafs goaltender James Reimer spoke to the media on Friday ahead of his start against the Blue Jackets. Here's what he had to say...
Do goaltenders notice the drop off in shots against from one year ago?
I think so. It's something we're working on as a team is trying to keep the shots and the chances down. I think we've done a really good job of it. So far our structure is coming along and we're getting better every day and every game. Hopefully tonight we can keep the trend going.
On the emphasis on play down low through practices:
The games have been good and they've been fighting hard for us. It's one of those things where we're all buying in and we're hopefully coming together.
Do you think there's less of a margin for error than last year with the run and gun style?
No, I think, especially as a goaltender, you're always siding with the defence. You'd rather defend better and score less than have the ability to score but give up more. I think you saw when we played Ottawa, we have the ability to score and when we play our game and get pucks to the net and get bodies there, it doesn't matter what happens. You can create chances and create goals. If we can stick with our game plan of better structure and better defence goals will be there when we need them.
How fickle is confidence for a goaltender?
When you have confidence there's nothing better because you're not thinking, you're playing the game. When you don't have confidence, you're usually thinking too much and you're focusing on the wrong things. Obviously Bob (Sergei Bobrovsky) is a really good goalie and he's shown it in years past. Hopefully we can get a few by him and get a win.
How is your confidence level right now?
1-10? 1-100? ... It's good, I'm happy with where my game is. I worked hard this offseason, I worked hard this pre-season and I feel like I'm getting better every day. Hopefully for my game it can really come together and help the boys get a win.
3:00 PM: Leafs head coach Mike Babcock spoke to the media on Friday ahead of the Leafs' game in Columbus. Here's what he had to say...
How valuable is six days off to get the team prepared early in the season?
We're trying to get better at what we do so we spent a lot of time on that and on a lot of detail. Being a former schoolteacher, the exam is on Friday and if you give them the exam and they all get 50 per cent, you didn't teach very good. Every game is an indication of the kind of job I'm doing. I just watch the game and see are we getting better? Are we having progress? Are we competing harder or working harder? Are we more structured? Do we have more resilience as people and as a team? Those are things I want to measure each and every night.
What are you expecting from the opposition tonight?
They're hungry, they're 0-4, you've got two teams that haven't won a game. So any way you look at it — and they're a team that's expected to do a lot. They have a talent base there, it's going to be a game. Our job is to come out here and know we're going to win and prepare that way and play that way. We need to get off to a good start here on the road, it's always nice on the road when you get off to a good start. You just play with poise and confidence and execute.
What have you noticed about James Reimer?
He's been battling. I don't know if you've noticed, in six of the first seven weeks, we've got back-to-backs. That's just the way the schedule is because of TV, back-to-back. They're both playing. You can talk about anything you want, they're both playing. What we did was we made a decision, we didn't think the sample size was big enough to say, 'Gee this guy is good against this team,' we just thought we got ourselves a point last game, we thought Reims was going and then Bernie was going to go in Pitt and give him a real good opportunity in Pitt.
On Komarov playing with Bozak and van Riemsdyk:
I just want them to have the puck, I want them to get the puck back. I always did it with Helm and Abdelkader is they get the puck for the skill guys — get them the puck, get them the puck back. Komo started slow for me at camp. Was it because of understanding, was it because of fitness? I don't know. But, he's played good, he had lots of opportunity in the last game, I'd like him to take a little more time in the scoring area because he can score for sure. Take a little more time when you get your chances but he did a lot of good things last game, that was our best line.
With a lot of tough talk early in the season, why is it tough for teams to have patience a week in?
I didn't hear any of that stuff because I'm not hearing anything. The one thing about it, I know I have a lot of work to do here. If I just focus on here, I don't have to worry about the rest of the League that much. We've got lots to do here, let's just focus on us.
How long before Corrado gets a look?
That's a good question, I don't know the answer. It's one I've asked myself too but I don't know the answer. It's a good one.
On changes to the lineup from last game:
Matthias is back in so Arcobello is out. On the back end I'm putting Harrington back in and taking out Martin.
12:00 PM: The Maple Leafs are in Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets tonight in a battle of teams looking for their first win of the season.
The Leafs enter having lost their last game in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators. Joffrey Lupul, Tyler Bozak, Peter Holland and Daniel Winnik scored goals for the Leafs while James Reimer made 29 saves to earn the single point. He will take the crease once again on Friday night.
The Blue Jackets are also coming off to a loss against the Senators after dropping a 7-3 score on Wednesday night. Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in goal for Columbus.
Stay tuned for updates on tonight's lineup, thoughts from the players and coaches, and more.