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Game Journal: Game 68 - Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs

6:15 PM:
Jake Gardiner offered his thoughts ahead of Sunday's game. Here's what he had to say...

On playing with Larkin at the World Championships:
He's a pretty special player. Watching him last time I played with him at the World Championships, he's a heck of a skater, obviously won the fastest skater at the All-Star Game this year and he's going to have a long career.

What's the key to slowing him down tonight?
It's just getting in his way when he's got speed. I think our forwards usually do a pretty good job of that. Especially when a guy has that much speed you've got to get in front of him before he can start skating.

Have you asked Hyman for any insight on how to get under his skin?
I haven't yet but I'm sure some of us will for sure.

What are the challenges taking on a veteran group with such a young D corps?
They've got both veterans and young guys who are very skilled. We have a very young D corps but I think we also have some talent. We've just got to play our game. Obviously last game wasn't great and we all know that, but we feel we've been playing pretty well lately and if we can do that I think we'll be fine.

How fine a line was the power play last night given four goals in the previous three games?
It wasn't a good power play game for us, I think we need to sharpen a few things up. We were sometimes lazy and couldn't get the puck out of our own zone. That's never a good sign. We definitely need to sharped that up.

Do you like the bounce back effect of playing 24 hours later?
Yeah, that's nice. We get to forget about it right away and move on and hopefully redeem ourselves tonight.

6:00 PM:
Peter Holland spoke to the media ahead of Sunday's game in Detroit. Here's what he had to say...

What adjustments will you make tonight?
Just bounce back. We just want to make sure we bring a better effort from the get-go. We didn't get off to the start we wanted and then it just trickled into the rest of our game. We just want to make sure at the drop of the puck we're ready to go tonight.

Can you improve on the gaps in the forecheck within the five-man unit?
We just need to do a better job of talking to each other. Communication is going to help us tenfold. Obviously we made some mistakes last night where our defencemen didn't know where we were because we weren't letting them know. We just need to do a better job of that and hopefully it'll shore up a lot of our issues.

Is that lack of communication part of being in a young group?
Yeah, it can be tough. When you first come up you're not sure if you're available for the puck. It's just trusting yourself, knowing you're in the right position and calling for it. Then when you get the puck it's having the confidence to do something with it.

Would it be nice to get a win for Coach since you haven't beaten the Red Wings this year?
It would just be nice to get our group a win. We're not focusing on the Babs thing, but I think obviously it would be special for him. It would be nice to get in the win column.

What's it like taking on Datsyuk and Zetterberg?
They're two top, elite players in the League. They're a lot of fun to watch as fans and tough to play against as opponents. We need to make sure we're doing a good job of trying to shut them down tonight and not giving them time and space with the puck because that's where they thrive.

5:45 PM: Here's what Mike Babcock had to say ahead of Sunday's game...

How important is a good start tonight after Saturday's loss?
Well obviously we need to bounce back. I didn't think -- for the most part of last night's game -- we were terrible. We didn't give up much but when we broke down we broke down bad. The first two shifts of the second and third, you can't give up goals. That to me is a lack of intensity and not being prepared enough so we've got to be better here today. I thought the Red Wings played real well, I watched them yesterday and the game before, they seem to have their game back. They've got good speed, good veteran leadership, they're going to be a tough test for us. It should be a lot of fun.

Did you think Larkin would be this good this fast?
No, I think anybody that tells you that they knew for sure, I mean, that's just impossible. I watched him lots, I watched him at Michigan, I went to the Worlds to watch him. He's got dynamic, dynamic speed. He's got more skill than I anticipated. He's playing real well, he's playing with a good veteran in Zetterberg. I can't emphasize how important that is when you've got a guy to help you, take the weight off you. He's a centre who's playing the wing, which is a great way to start in the League because you're looked after. He's a dynamic player.

Any lineup changes tonight?

How good is the opportunity to play with veterans to expedite development?
Yeah, I think so. I think it's like anything, as we build our team in Toronto and we add all these kids, you need good veterans to go with them too. It's great if they're a real good player, but it's more important that they're a real good person. If they can be a real good player that helps, at the same time that's even better. Being around good people and people to keep you calm, this League is all about when it's going good and when it's not going good and how you respond. A guy like Zetterberg would help them be steady on the rudder the whole time.

Why aren't you seeing the success in shots and faceoffs turn into goals?
When one guy gets the puck and he's alone with the goalie and it's dangerous, and one guy gets the puck and he's alone with the goalie and it's not dangerous, what's the difference? There you go.

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

Toronto Maple Leafs


41 Soshnikov - 43 Kadri - 47 Komarov

15 Parenteau - 39 Nylander - 11 Hyman

38 Greening - 23 Laich - 24 Holland

18 Michalek - 26 Smith - 40 Grabner


44 Rielly - 52 Marincin

51 Gardiner - 8 Carrick

29 Valiev - 20 Corrado


45 Bernier

31 Sparks

Detroit Red Wings


8 Abdelkader - 40 Zetterberg - 71 Larkin

21 Tatar - 13 Datsyuk - 72 Athanasiou

14 Nyquist - 15 Sheahan - 56 Pulkkinen

43 Helm - 41 Glendening - 17 Richards


65 DeKeyser - 27 Quincey

2 Smith - 25 Green

52 Ericsson - 47 Marchenko


35 Howard

34 Mrazek

3:30 PM: The Maple Leafs wrap up a back-to-back on Sunday night when they take on the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit.

The Leafs are coming off of a 4-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night in Ottawa. Garret Sparks made 13 saves in the loss. Jonathan Bernier will start for the Maple Leafs in Detroit.

The Red Wings also played on Saturday and defeated the New York Rangers by a 3-2 score at home. Darren Helm and Brad Richards scored in regulation for Detroit and Helm added a second in overtime to seal the win. Petr Mrazek stopped 23 shots to earn the victory. Jimmy Howard is expected to start against the Leafs.

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

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