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Game Journal: Game 57 - Flyers vs. Maple Leafs

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs

4:00 PM: Ian Walsh and Kevin Pollock will be tonight's referees. Brad Kovachik and David Brisebois will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in to tonight's game can watch on Hockey Night in Canada, listen on TSN 1050 and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick and Bob McGill tee up tonight's game below.

1:10 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Flyers.

Toronto Maple Leafs


40 Grabner - 43 Kadri -24 Holland

38 Greening - 33 Arcobello - 15 Parenteau

23 Matthias - 16 Spaling - 26 Winnik

25 Clune - 56 Froese - 28 Boyes


44 Rielly - 20 Corrado

51 Gardiner - 46 Polak

52 Marincin - 55 Loov


45 Bernier

34 Reimer

Philadelphia Flyers


10 Schenn - 28 Giroux - 17 Simmonds

20 Umberger - 52 Cousins - 93 Voracek

12 Raffl - 21 Laughton - 24 Read

76 VandeVelde - 78 Bellemarre - 25 White


55 Schultz - 32 Streit

47 MacDonald - 53 Gostisbehere

82 Medvedev - 3 Gudas


35 Mason

30 Neuvirth

1:00 PM:
Peter Holland spoke to media on Saturday following the Leafs' morning skate. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

Do you feel like you've got to find a way to chip in more offensively?

I'd like to, I've been putting pressure on myself all year to do it and I feel like I need to do a better job 5-on-5 for this team. The power play, I've been having some success, but 5-on-5 I'd like to help out a little bit more. I'm definitely putting more pressure on myself to do that.

Is there a fine line between putting too much pressure on yourself?

Yeah, sometimes you can get frustrated and squeeze the stick a little bit too tight and you've got to remind yourself to go out there and play and have fun. Your skill will take over and you'll have success the way that got you to this level. It's just like I said, go out there and play and enjoy it.

On Jake Gardiner playing his 300th game:

He's one of our best defencemen. He moves so well, he's such a good skater, he gets up and down the ice, he sees the ice really well. I'm not surprised that at a young age he's playing in his 300th game.

Is the search for consistency a reminder of how good the League is?

This league is incredibly hard and it's as much a physical battle as it is a mental battle. It's really hard to get anything done out there. So when you look at guys like Patrick Kane and Tyler Seguin and how they do it every night, it's pretty incredible to see guys like that.

12:45 PM:
P-A Parenteau has four points in his last three games. Here's what he had to say on Saturday morning...

Leafs TV

What's working for the club in terms of generating shots?

I think we make a point of trying to shoot the puck a little more. We've talked about it as a team and that's how we're going to generate scoring chances. We don't have the most skilled group up front right now so we're trying to keep it simple and bring the puck to the net. That's how we're going to get wins.

On Greening and his size helping the shot generation:

He's done a real good job. I didn't know much about him coming in but he's played real well. He's a big body like you said, he has moved the puck real well to me and Arc in recent games so it has been a nice addition for sure.

Do you look at recent progress to get a win here tonight?

I think you try to get all the positives you can take from the recent games. We played a real good game last game, I thought we should have come up with the win, we didn't. We've got to forget about it again and go at it tonight. That's the beauty of this league, you've got a game every other night so you've got to be ready to play tonight.

12:30 PM: Jake Gardiner gets set to play his 300th game tonight. Here's what he had to say after the skate...

Leafs TV

On Gostisbehere's 14-game point streak:

Yeah, that's pretty impressive. Watching him play, he's so poised at the blueline and such a threat offensively. He's a guy we have to be aware of... He's a real good player, moves the puck well, he's really smart. I think every team would like to have a guy like that.

What have you seen that has worked for the team generating shots?

I think when we get into trouble is when we're turning pucks over and when we have success is when we get it in the zone. If you look at the guys on our team, we've got some big size and good cyclers and the more traffic we can get and shots in front, the better we're going to do.

Is it easy to move on from a game where you had a bad night or bad play?

That's happened to me a few times over my career and you've just got to put it aside and move on, there's another game in a few days. That's the good thing about this league is there's a lot of games and you can make it up the next one.

What has the pre-tape told you about Philadelphia?

They've got a pretty powerful first line with Giroux and Voracek so we've got to watch out for them and obviously a pretty mobile D core with Gostisbehere. Don't give them any time and space.

12:15 PM:
Here's what Nick Spaling had to say following Saturday's morning skate...

How have you felt your game has been with so much flux in the lineup?

I think we're lucky to have a bunch of guys coming into the lineup that are stepping in and doing a great job. No matter who you're playing with there has been some good gelling and obviously it can take some time. I've been able to stay with Winnik for quite a bit and the wingers are getting rotated on the other side or whatever it is. I think we've been fortunate to have guys jump in and whether they've played any games or whether they've played a few games or whatever, they've been doing a good job stepping right in and making an impact.

What are the keys to keeping the penalty kill on the right track consistently?

Just keeping it simple and not panicking obviously. We had a good stretch and then we had two games where things didn't go right. I think we've just got to stick to the game plan and you've got to trust each other again and just worry about your job. I think that's our focus is just sticking to the game plan and doing what you've got to do out there knowing your partner is going to do the same too.

Do you focus more on the process of what you're doing offensively or is it hard not to grip the stick a little tight?

I think everybody is, obviously you get a little bit frustrated at times but you've got to do -- I try my best not to think about it and just keep playing the game I want to play out there. At the same time everybody wants to score so it's a focus to get one and you don't want to try to grip it too tight but sometimes that's the way it goes.

On taking part in Forces Night tonight and other celebrations with the Maple Leafs:

They [the organization] seem to do a great job of honouring and putting on a good night for people to enjoy, whatever it is. It's cool to see the support that people give -- the fans, the team and the whole organization. They make it pretty special for everyone involved.

12:00 PM:
Mike Babcock offered his thoughts and updates on Saturday. Here's what he had to say following the morning skate...

Leafs TV

How important is it to have players focusing on process?

I think it's real important but I think if you look at our team, there's a whole ton of guys on one-year contracts. There's a whole bunch of guys that want contracts that plan on being here, there's a whole bunch of guys that I assume want to play on the team. The best way to look after yourself is to do it right each and every day. We maintain the same approach we would if we were leading the League as we are as far as getting ready and then you've got to respond accordingly. Your actions every day tell who you are. It's not what you say, it's what you do. You're telling everybody every day who you are and you're not just telling the Leafs, you're telling 29 other teams in the League. To me it's really straightforward.

What are your expectations for Peter Holland?

Well I think he's a big guy with skill and I think he can be -- it's one of those things where skill is great but an elite drivetrain is another thing that pushes you over the top each and every night to compete. I talk to Pete about it all the time. I think he can score in tight, he can shoot the puck, he's got some toughness to him, he's got lots of ability. Now you've got to learn to do it every single day at an elite level and without prodding, you've got to do it yourself. Guys that bring it every day -- everyone thinks that superstars have got real good skill but superstars have more heart and more soul and more drivetrain than the other guys. That's what separates them. And so, yes they've got skill, but now how do you get your skillset to the next level? That's the challenge for him.

What holes do Leo's suspension leave you with?

Well I mean he's a real good player, he plays real hard for us. It's unfortunate obviously. Leo is a good player, a good man, plays hard and it's unfortunate that it happened. You don't want to see McDonagh hurt either, he's a real good player. He's got to serve his time and that's the way it should be. Someone is going to get a good opportunity so who's taking his spot tonight and how are they going to play? If they play good enough maybe Leo can play somewhere else. I don't know, it's just one of those things. Every time someone is hurt you're trying to find players. I went to the Marlies game there, they look pretty good too. There's lots of players around, you've got to keep building your product.

How many guys with the Marlies do you think can come up and be Leafs over time?

That's a good question, I don't know the answer. The other thing I would tell you is I've had a lot of experience with Grand Rapids. They were two hours away so I got to see them play and the same here now, I've seen the team play a number of times. Until you get them on the ice and until you see them every day in the National Hockey League with the speed and the tempo of the game, you don't know 100 per cent for sure. Some guys are better than you think and some guys aren't as good as you think. For me to speculate on that, all I know is that they have a ton of skill down there. They have the puck all the time. I saw more plays in four shifts than I saw in a week here. They're high octane, they do things at that level. Now, this is a whole different level and we've seen all these guys come with all these projections over the years and you've got to do it now, here.

What changes for Rielly with Hunwick out? Does he have to be more careful?

I don't think he has to be more careful but Hunny is one of those guys who talks all the time, is in the right place all the time and bails you out a little bit.

What are you experiences and takeaways meeting military people over the years?

I lived in the US the last 21 years obviously, I spend my life here in Canada. When you live in Spokane like I did and there's a base right there, when you're around in the US, someone in everybody's family you know has someone in the military. And so when everybody you know has someone as a member of the military, it's a way different program. In Canada for me it hasn't been as prevalent. I think it's so important that we honour the people that have given us the opportunity to live in a great country like this and give us the freedom we have to do what we do. Whether that be the fire department, the police department or the military, those people are putting their lives on the line to make sure you have the freedom you have. It's a fantastic thing and it's very important we honour it.

Is it a day-to-day thing with Hunwick?

Yeah, but day-to-day I've found around here is 10 days. We'll ask every day for the next eight.

Is Matthias ready to go back in?

Matthias is in tonight.

Where do you see Gardiner at this stage of his career as he gets set to play his 300th game?

I think Jake has lots of ability. I think he got off to a real good start this year, had a bit of a soft spot and seems to be on his way back. He's a gifted passer, he can skate and move the puck, he's getting way better at going back and getting it, he's been a better defender for us. I think he's, like a lot of young guys, is trying to find his game in a tough league.

What kind of impact has Brad Boyes had this year?

He's a real good man, real good man. His hockey sense is elite, he still makes plays every night. He's one of those guys -- I always check in the last five games who's got three or more points, he's one of those guys, why? It's not his legs anymore obviously or his body. It's his head. He's got an elite head and he can help out and help young guys out. He's been excellent. I've told him I don't know how many different times he's out of the lineup, he always finds a way to be in the lineup. He's just one of those guys, he fills in, does whatever. He can be on the power play, he can play against the best people. He's been good for us. He had a tough turnover the other night but the majority of the time he looks after the puck and plays well.

11:45 AM: The Maple Leafs host their 10th annual Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night tonight when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Leafs last played on Thursday night and took a 4-2 loss at home to the New York Rangers. P-A Parenteau and Colin Greening scored for the Maple Leafs in the loss, while Jonathan Bernier made 16 stops. He will return to the net tonight against Philadelphia.

The Flyers played in Montreal on Friday night and lost a 3-2 game in the shootout. Nick Cousins and Michael Raffl scored for Philadelphia. Michal Neuvirth made 29 stops in the loss. Steve Mason is slated to get the start on Saturday night in Toronto.

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

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