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Game Journal: Game 78 - Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs

by Chris Lund / Toronto Maple Leafs



4:00 PM: Tonight's officials will be Greg Kimmerly and Dean Morton. Greg Devorski and Scott Driscoll will be the linesmen. Those looking to tune in to tonight's game can watch on Hockey Night in Canada, listen on Sportsnet 590 The FAN and follow the Leafs on Twitter.

Paul Hendrick and Bob McGill preview tonight's game below.



2:45 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Red Wings.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forwards

40 Grabner - 43 Kadri - 28 Boyes

38 Greening - 39 Nylander - 15 Parenteau

46 Lindberg - 42 Bozak - 37 Kapanen

23 Laich - 54 Gauthier - 56 Froese

Defence

52 Marincin - 44 Rielly

51 Gardiner - 20 Corrado

48 Campbell - 29 Brennan

Goaltenders

31 Sparks

45 Bernier

Detroit Red Wings

Forwards

8 Abdelkader - 40 Zetterberg - 71 Larkin

43 Helm - 13 Datsyuk - 17 Richards

14 Nyquist - 15 Sheahan - 21 Tatar

72 Athanasiou - 41 Glendening - 39 Mantha

Defence

65 DeKeyser - 27 Quincey

55 Kronwall - 47 Marchenko

52 Ericsson - 25 Green

Goaltenders

35 Howard

34 Mrazek



2:30 PM:
Tobias Lindberg will play his second NHL game tonight. Here's what he had to say following Saturday's morning skate...

Leafs TV

What has been the biggest adjustment you've had to make coming up from junior through the AHL and now the NHL?

It's just every step you take, the guys get stronger and smarter. You've really got to know what you're doing out there and work hard every shift. You can't take a shift off.

How much of a help has it been having DJ Smith to help your adjustment?

It's been huge. He even put me on the penalty kill first game up here, just a shot like that. He's been watching video with me almost every day and telling me what to do. It's been a great help for me.

How much of a compliment is it to you to be given those defensive responsibilities?

It's an honour of course. I like to see myself as a two-way player and when I get the chance to do it in the NHL, it's just really time to prove myself. I thought I did an okay job against Buffalo.

How much more settled in do you feel ahead of the second game?

Yeah, obviously the pressure is off. I survived the first game a little bit. We're playing a real good team who's chasing a playoff spot here so it's going to be a different atmosphere today.

What's it like to be in the dressing room and to play in this building tonight?

It's amazing. Walking here this morning it was just an unreal feeling to play here and it might be sold out tonight, it's going to be a good crowd and it's just going to be an amazing feeling.

How do you feel about having your family here after what they've done to get you here?

I just want to go out there and make my family proud. They've been helping me since I was four and put on skate for the first time. I really just want to try to give back to them.

Are they coming tonight or are they seeing Marlies vs. Grand Rapids?

They were kind of 50/50 but I think they're going to come here... It was a little bit harder (to get tickets) today because many people wanted to go but I was able to get them tickets.



2:15 PM:
Garret Sparks is slated to start tonight's game. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

On his play:

I haven't gotten into as much of a rhythm as I typically do late in the season but I'll have a lot of time with the Marlies when I'm back so hopefully I'm saving the best for last.

Do you think you can reclaim the Marlies starting job in the playoffs?

There's three good goalies there right now and I know I have my work cut out for me. I know that I have to be on if I want to play in the playoffs for that team. That's objective number one once I get back down there.

How do you feel about your performance as a whole with the Leafs?

I feel like I can do more but I'm not trying to worry too much about it. I'm just trying to take every opportunity I have here to learn and improve my game and every shot is another challenge, every game is another challenge so I'm just trying to learn and continue to grow as a goalie.

Is it important to get consistent starts as you continue to grow?

Yeah, every day is important, whether you're starting or you're backing up, whether you're practicing. Every day you show up to the rink you're expected to take something from it and learn something from it and getting starts is a nice luxury.

How did you feel the game in Buffalo went and how do you assess the current state of your game?

The Buffalo game was probably the most game I've felt since I've been up here. I'm just trying to take a little bit of the pressure off myself and allow myself to play my game. Focus more on the puck and leave all the other distractions aside. Just get back to playing hockey.

How much pressure were you putting on yourself after the recall?

I'm just naturally a bit of a perfectionist and I want to do the best I can for my team, for the guys that are playing in front of me. I was putting a fair bit of pressure on myself. I want to win hockey games and I'm not happy when we lose. I was really working hard at that and I've decided I just need to play my game and worry less about everything else.



2:00 PM:
Leafs TV caught up with Frederik Gauthier following his recall on Saturday morning. Here's what he had to say...

Leafs TV

What's it like to come back here knowing how well you played after the two games?

I think everyone wants to play here, I think that's our goal. It's fun to have another chance and another peek at it. The first time I came here it went good and hopefully I can do that again for the time I'm here.

Do you remember the sound of that goalpost in your second game?

Yeah, for sure. I think I just got a chance in the slot and hit the post. Hopefully the next one is going to go in.

What else have you done that's made you quicker on the ice?

Just the way you move your upper body and lower body. Just separate the upper and the bottom, the shoulders, everything is so important when you skate, every part of your body. Sometimes it was too much all over the place. Get straight and a strong core.

On his goal in his last game:

I think Fratty (Matt Frattin) made all of the play, I just tapped it in. He made a great play, cut into the middle, he made it into the slot and it was an easy tap-in. It's always nice to score goals.



1:30 PM:
Here's what Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock had to say ahead of Saturday's game vs. Detroit...

Leafs TV

What did you like about Lindberg's play on the lone goal in Buffalo?

Well, I liked that he was 6-foot-3 and (225 pounds) when he made it. That's what I liked about it. Then obviously he has the hands to do that, he can really skate. In saying all that, I've watched him quite a bit with the Marlies and you don't see that every day. That's the biggest challenge for all these kids is you get fired up and you play one game, now you play two games. Then when you've played a year and then two years, can you keep doing it and can you keep getting better? The other thing, when I was watching the Red Wings game last night, they played well but the thing that stood out for me was watching Parise. If anyone wants to maximize their skillset, all they've got to do is watch that guy and how determined and hard and how competitive he is. And so a guy like Lindberg, if he watches that guy it gives him an example of what the benchmark is for his skillset.

How much pride is there in the playoff streak in Detroit and how much pressure does that bring?

The pride is immense obviously, the pressure means you have a chance. If you don't have a chance -- we're not feeling much playoff pressure right now here, that means you don't have a chance. When you have a chance that's all you can ask for, right? To me that's a real good thing. Every year when the good teams -- there's always some tough times. Everyone thinks you win 10-1 every night, that's not the way. You win 2-1 a whole bunch of times and some nights you don't have it and you still find a way to win. That's what good teams do over and over again.

Have you watched Detroit a lot this season?

I haven't watched them a lot but Brad Holland works for us so he's got them on all the time and when I'm with him I've got to watch them. When we're playing them I watch them. They're a real good team, they're real well organized, they play hard, they've got good players and they've done it well for a long time.

Is Soshnikov getting closer?

We're going to be careful there obviously just because of the kind of injury he had. We'll be careful with him and I don't know if he gets in a game or not.

Do you have plans yet for what you'll do after the season? Will you be around the Marlies?

Yeah, I've got plans for it.

Is there a concern Kadri will get a reputation for diving?

Well I think he has a reputation. I think they made it clear the previous four games. This is what my recommendation for him would be is don't change the things you do, play hard, be mean, compete, be good defensively, have a good summer, come back ready to play and be a better pro, have a better shot and then don't dive. But when someone trips you, you're tripped. It's just real simple. Play hard as you possibly can and the more -- the harder you play, the more penalties you're going to draw. That's what I would do. I would have the puck like he has, he has good edges, he draws lots of penalties. You don't have to embellish anything.

1:00 PM: The Maple Leafs return to action on Saturday night as they host the Detroit Red Wings at Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs are coming off of a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. Brooks Laich had the lone Leafs goal in the loss, while Garret Sparks stopped 33 of 36 shots. He is slated to get the start against Detroit.

The Red Wings took on the Minnesota Wild on Friday night and came away with a 3-2 win at home. Dylan Larkin, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan scored for the Red Wings while Jimmy Howard made 20 saves to earn the win. He will get the start in Toronto as well.

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

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