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Game Journal: Game 54 - Maple Leafs vs. Canucks

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs

5:50 PM:
Trevor Hanson and Jean Hebert will be the referees tonight. Kiel Murchison and Vaughan Rody will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in can watch on Hockey Night in Canada, listen on Sportsnet 590 The FAN and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

5:45 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Canucks.

Toronto Maple Leafs


40 Grabner - 43 Kadri - 47 Komarov

24 Holland - 33 Arcobello - 15 Parenteau

26 Winnik - 16 Spaling - 38 Greening

25 Clune - 56 Froese - 28 Boyes


2 Hunwick - 44 Rielly

51 Gardiner - 46 Polak

52 Marincin - 20 Corrado


34 Reimer

45 Bernier

Vancouver Canucks


22 D. Sedin - 33 H. Sedin - 36 Hansen

47 Baertschi - 53 Horvat - 17 Vrbata

14 Burrows - 7 Vey - 26 Etem

15 Dorsett - 91 McCann - 18 Virtanen


2 Hamhuis - 8 Tanev

27 Hutton - 44 Bartkowski

6 Weber - 5 Sbisa


30 Miller

25 Markstrom

5:40 PM:
Matt Hunwick spoke with Leafs TV on Saturday. Here's what he had to say...

On reaching 400 games in the NHL:

It's kind of taken a little while, it's been a long road to get here. I'm obviously very excited and very fortunate to play my 400th game tonight.

What goes on in a room that has been depleted as you try to move forward?

Our preparation is the same no matter who we have in the lineup. We'll go through the same meetings and prepare the same way we always do. Obviously there's a focus on defence right now when scoring hasn't been our strength. We have to defend and try and maybe win a low-scoring 2-1 game tonight.

On taking on the Sedins:

Yeah, you talk about Connor McDavid, these guys have been playing together their whole life and the plays they can make back and forth are obviously jaw-dropping. We have to be aware when those guys are on the ice and if you see one of them you have to find the other because the puck is most of the time going to the other brother. They're obviously very dynamic when they're together and it'll be another tough challenge for us tonight.

What has it been like to have days off to recover ahead of games?

It's big. It helps obviously with the late night travel, not having to play back-to-back games. You get a little bit of rest, we've had some practice time as well, which has been nice. Obviously each day that we have and the day in-between gives us a little more time to focus on the opponent the next day. We'll be fully prepared coming into tonight's game.

5:30 PM:
Here's Peter Holland ahead of Saturday's game...

On preparing to play either the wing or centre:

It's definitely a little bit challenging when you don't know exactly what the lineup is but that being said it's out of my control at this point. All I can control is making sure I'm ready to play no matter where it is tonight.

On his opportunity with the depleted lineup:

Any time you get a chance to play more minutes it's obviously exciting. You want to make the most of it. I'm doing my best to, like I said, make sure I'm ready and continue playing my game and what's earned me the opportunity to this point.

On building upon the power play chances in Edmonton:

We just need to stick with it. I think we've done a pretty good job of creating opportunities for ourselves on the power play. I know last game, not only did we have 14 shots but we had some great looks within those 14 shots. Boyes put one between Cam Talbot's legs there and just didn't find the back of the net. We need our power play to be a source of toughness for us when teams take penalties and rely on big goals.

On Morin and Leipsic potentially playing:

It's exciting. I remember playing my first NHL game in Detroit. It's a thrill, it's a dream come true and so I'm sure those two guys are excited. Like you said, Morin has played some games but a new organization, he'll want to prove himself here. We'll support them as best we can.

5:20 PM:
Here's what Mike Babcock had to say ahead of Saturday's game...

Any lineup changes tonight?

Yeah, we'll find out after warmup.

Any changes in goal?

Reims is starting.

What about Morin and Leipsic appeals to the Leafs?

They must have played well. All I do is talk to Lou about it and he talks to Sheldon and in the end they make the decisions on that. Obviously we're short-staffed right now and there's going to be lots of guys who get opportunity and it's up to them to do something with the opportunity if we give it.

Is there a similarity between the Marlies call-ups and when Grand Rapids helped Detroit make the playoffs a few years ago?

Yeah, it's a much different situation here than we're in right now. I think comparing the two is different. We're much earlier in our curve and obviously our big club is not the same but we do have good kids down there, the majority of the ones that have been dominating the League haven't been called up yet. I imagine they're going to get an opportunity over time.

Can you capitalize on the shots on the power play to get an edge where you need one?

Obviously our power play looked good last game. We got the puck back a lot, we had a lot of opportunity on it but in the end you've still got to shoot it in the net. We've got to do a better job finding the back of the net when we get those chances.

On the state of the roster after injuries and trades heading into tonight:

I never thought much about that. We've got a group of guys prepared to play today. We're going to be prepared, we're going to play hard and we've got to make sure we find a way to not have any major breakdowns. Obviously the Sedins, we've got to keep them off the board, they carry a lot of offence for the club, stay out of the box and play hard.

5:00 PM: The Maple Leafs are back at it in Vancouver on Saturday when they visit the Canucks.

The Leafs are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. Josh Leivo and Jake Gardiner had goals for the Leafs, while Jonathan Bernier made 30 saves in the loss. The Leafs have not confirmed a starter in goal for Saturday's game.

The Canucks last played on Wednesday and picked up a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Jake Virtanen and Jannik Hansen scored for the Canucks. Ryan Miller made 33 saves to clinch the victory. He's expected in goal on Saturday.

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

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