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Game Journal: Game 48 - Maple Leafs vs. Lightning

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs



4:15 PM:
Tonight's officials will be Brian Pochmara and Kyle Rehman. Tony Sericolo and Derek Amell will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in can watch on Sportsnet, listen on Sportsnet 590 The FAN and by following the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick and Joe Bowen tee up tonight's game in Tampa Bay below.

4:00 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Lightning.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

40 Grabner - 43 Kadri - 47 Komarov

23 Matthias - 42 Bozak - 15 Parenteau

24 Holland - 16 Spaling - 19 Lupul

25 Clune - 56 Froese - 26 Winnik

Defence

51 Gardiner - 3 Phaneuf

2 Hunwick - 44 Rielly

20 Corrado - 46 Polak

Goaltenders

45 Bernier

34 Reimer

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

18 Palat - 90 Namestnikov - 91 Stamkos

17 Killorn - 9 Johnson - 86 Kucherov

23 Brown - 51 Filppula - 24 Callahan

13 Paquette - 11 Boyle - 42 Marchessault

Defence

77 Hedman - 6 Stralman

89 Nesterov - 55 Coburn

5 Garrison - 62 Sustr

Goaltenders

88 Vasilevskiy

30 Bishop



3:45 PM:
Frank Corrado draws into the lineup tonight. Here's what he had to say ahead of the game in Tampa Bay...

Leafs TV

On being ready for Wednesday's game:

Yeah, that's the way it goes, you've just got to be ready for when your number is called. Just play your game and don't try to change too much. Bring what you can to the table.

On his performance in his four games this season:

I'd always like to be better but that's just the way it is. I just try and play my game every single time, I don't try to do too much, keep it simple. Obviously try and jump in the play when I can. It's obviously exciting to get into a game here, especially with my dad here so I just want to use the energy and use it tonight.

Is it hard to not get caught up in needing to have a good game when you're not playing regularly?

That's every game, right? Especially when you're not in a rhythm or a groove. I feel like when I've played a lot you're not even thinking about it, you're just playing and it's second nature. When you get games sporadically you definitely want to make the most of them. I think the big one for me is to get a win in the lineup. We haven't won with me in the lineup yet so that's the big one for me. That's the best feeling at the end of the day.

How did you feel with all those games off?

It's always tough when you don't know exactly but there's nothing you can do. You practice hard, you work out in the gym, stay on the ice later and just be ready to go. Obviously we're creatures of habit so my game day routine is still the same, nothing really changes, it's just go out there and play your best.

Are you fielding lots of questions about your playing time?

Not as many as you'd think. There's people that text every once and a while, friends from home, people I talk to, people I haven't really spoken to in a long time but the support has been great. I'm pretty lucky, the fan support I had in Vancouver was unbelievable and I think in Toronto it has been the same. It's nice to have people on your side and just hoping the best for you.


3:30 PM: Here's what Nazem Kadri had to say ahead of Wednesday's game...

Leafs TV

On Luongo as a difference maker on Tuesday:

I think early that was the difference, him [Luongo] making a few of those saves. I don't really think we got outplayed to a drastic point. I think the game just got to a point where we just got a little too far behind. Certain goals that they scored, Luongo made some huge saves and it easily could have been a one-goal or tied hockey game and they ended up coming down to score minutes later. That has a big effect on the game.

Does last night show how fine a line it is for this team?

Certainly they deserved to win that game, we just weren't good enough, plain and simple. I don't think the score reflected how badly we got outplayed. I think we were still in that game up until that third period. Even when we were trailing 3-1, Joffrey had that great backdoor chance and Lu just made an unbelievable save. They ended up coming down and scoring just minutes after that. Same with their second goal too I believe. That's the difference. Oftentimes the goaltender can have that effect but hopefully we don't put ourselves in that position, we can get a couple of early ones tonight and keep it moving from there.

On the team at the All-Star break:

I think it's a little bit of everything, to be honest. There are times when we'll be playing some exceptional hockey and be thinking we're moving in the right direction, which I think we are. There's going to be growing pains, we knew that coming into the season, there's going to be difficult times and this happens to be one of them. We've got to look at nobody else to get ourselves out of this other than ourselves. We've got to get back to playing how we play, we've done a lot of good things as well but we've got to cash in on opportunities and limit grade-A opportunities.


2:45 PM: Richard Clune spoke to the media on Wednesday in Tampa Bay. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

What goes into maximizing every shift in a night?

I think whether -- it's kind of my mentality is whether I get one shift or 20 shifts I'm out there to do the same thing. That's just the way I am, that's just the way I'm built.

Is providing time and space for linemates especially important on the road?

Yeah, I think any time you go into another team's building you want to push them back into their own D zone and try to establish territory. I personally like going into other team's buildings and getting after them. It's just the way I play.

On Thornton trying to get him to fight late on Tuesday:

It is what it is, a fight is a fight. I've fought him before and I think he was -- he's a good guy, I don't know him at all off the ice but I know he's well-liked or whatever. He's trying to do his thing. I think he was just getting frustrated with me finishing my checks so much and I can assure you that will actually probably have the opposite effect on me. If I notice people are getting upset I keep doing it.

How do you when the right time is to drop the gloves?

You just know.

Are there guidelines with coach over when or when not to fight?

Yeah, I mean, I think what goes on between me and the coaches stays that way. I think the first time I was called up I was a little bit reckless and this time around I'm trying to really show that I'm coachable and be a physical player without hurting the team penalty-wise.

What's it like having your dad on the trip?

It's great, we've grown really close over the years. He's a good man. I've got two younger brothers too that we all looked up to him growing up. He drove us around to hockey, along with my mom. They had us in every sport so they're amazing parents. We had a great upbringing and he's a good guy.

Did your dad offer any advice after the game last night?

He just said keep getting in there, going to the net. I would like to chip in offensively as well as physically. That's another step I need to take in my game. He's the kind of guy I think growing up if I would have scored a goal or got an assist, it didn't necessarily mean I played well. I think that's why I've gotten to the places I've gotten is my father is honest with me and he's pretty good at -- I could get no goals or anything like that and he knew that I'd played hard and I played well. He's a smart hockey man, he knows the game very well and he was happy with my game. Obviously the team lost so I'm never in a good mood, I'm not a nice person to be around after a loss but it was good. We rode on the plane together and it's nice to have him here.


2:30 PM: Here's what Mike Babcock had to say ahead of Wednesday's game in Tampa Bay.

Leafs TV

Is there any validation in what you're doing with this group when you hear the comments from opposing coaches?

Well, I know that, but Coop is a good man, he's got a good team, we've played lots of good teams. I look forward to the day that when the other team is scared of us. That's what I look forward to. It's great that we can make it tight and work real hard and compete real hard but you'd like the other team to be fearful of a bunch of your guys and wave after wave they're going to come at you. That's what we're growing into. It's going to take us time. All you've got to do is look at the team we played last night, how much time it's taken them to get to where they're at and you go through a lot of the real good teams in the League and the development. So, it's time, but in saying that your job is to maximize the group and I think when you do that on a nightly basis you feel real good about yourself. I felt last night we were set up great and then we did it to ourselves. I'm not taking anything away from Florida, they skated good, they moved good, but I felt our part of the game wasn't done well enough long enough.

Is last night's game an example of how fine the line is between wins and losses?

I really thought so. Even when it was 2-1 -- and we gave up two bad penalty kill goals, things we had talked about in the meeting and we let happen so you can't do that. The other thing I'd say to you is it's 2-1, we're right there, we're all over them, we've had two good shifts in a row, we turn the puck over and it's in our net. What I don't like is we ask our goalie to do his job and then last night we hung our goalie out to dry by having backside tap-in goals. That's not his job, that's our job. We have to do a better job there.

Did you like Clune showing restraint and not fighting Thornton late?

I thought Clune did a real good job for us and he's been one of our best forwards here of late. He's played with great energy and looked after our guys. To me, you can be a factor sitting in the box, there's no question about it but you can be a factor when you're on the other team's D and getting some skin out there. I thought he did a good job for us.

Do you give your guys guidelines on when to fight and when not to fight?

Well, that's a real good question. Who's next?

What are your plans this All-Star break?

My kid's playing in Boston twice so I'm going to spend a day in Tampa and then go watch him play in Boston. It's going to be my Father's Trip coming up.

2:15 PM: The Maple Leafs wrap up a Florida back-to-back tonight when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning .

The Leafs are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. Nazem Kadri had the lone goal for the Maple Leafs in the loss, while James Reimer made 22 stops for the Leafs. Jonathan Bernier will make his first start since Jan. 16 in Tampa Bay.

The Lightning last played on Saturday and lost to the Panthers by a 5-2 score. Victor Hedman and JT Brown scored for the Lightning. Ben Bishop stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced in two periods on Saturday before being replaced by Andrei Vasilevskiy in the third. He stopped all four shots he faced. Vasilevskiy will face the Leafs on Wednesday.

Stay tuned for comments from Coach Babcock, the Leafs, projected lineups and more.

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