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Maple Leafs at Panthers preview

Toronto shuffles lines after defeat that ended six-game winning streak; Florida has lost two straight

by Harvey Fialkov / Correspondent

MAPLE LEAFS (14-8-0) at PANTHERS (7-11-2)

7 p.m. ET; SNO, FS-F, NHL.TV


The Game

The Toronto Maple Leafs have won six of their past seven games but come to BB&T Center to face the Florida Panthers on Wednesday after a 4-1 home loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

Toronto coach Mike Babcock wasn't happy with his team's effort against the NHL's last-place team, so he's shaking up his lines; however, he wouldn't specify his changes after the morning skate.

Florida had 52 shots on goal in a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday and lost the final two games of a three-game California trip. The Panthers called up rookie forward Henrik Haapala from Springfield of the American Hockey League; he's expected to play on the second line with Vincent Trocheck and Nick Bjugstad.


Players to watch

Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri has four goals and four assists during a seven-game point streak. He has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 20 games against Florida.

Panthers center Aleksander Barkov has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in Florida's nine home games.


They said it

"Wow, 23 minutes, really? That [stinks]. You do [want ice time], but 23 [minutes] a night for 82 games, it's got to wear on you after a while. Obviously, he's a great player and you want him out there as much as possible, but you also have to monitor your minutes and make sure fatigue doesn't set in. Because once that [happens], your brain stops working.'' -- Toronto forward Nazem Kadri on Barkov averaging 22:47 of ice time this season, most among forwards

"I'm very excited and they tell me I'm playing so it's nice. … Maybe eight years ago [with Barkov] we played on same junior team; then we played four years together and he came here.'' -- Panthers rookie Henrik Haapala, a longtime friend of Barkov, on making his NHL debut


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk -- Patrick Marleau -- Mitchell Marner

Connor Brown -- Nazem Kadri -- Leo Komarov

Matt Martin -- Tyler Bozak -- Nikita Soshnikov

Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Josh Leivo, Dominic Moore, Roman Polak

Injured: None


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Henrik Haapala -- Vincent Trocheck -- Nick Bjugstad

Jamie McGinn -- Jared McCann -- Colton Sceviour

Micheal Haley -- Chase Balisy -- Connor Brickley

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson -- Mark Pysyk

Ian McCoshen -- MacKenzie Weegar

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Dryden Hunt, Alex Petrovic

Injured: Radim Vrbata (face), Derek MacKenzie (upper body)


Status report

MacKenzie remains on injured reserve but is skating. Vrbata is day-to-day.


Stat pack

The Maple Leafs have won 11 times when scoring the first goal of the game, tying them with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the most in the League. Toronto has scored first in 15 of its 22 games, most in the NHL. … The Panthers have three forwards averaging more than one point per game: Barkov, Huberdeau and Trocheck each has 21 points (1.05 per game).

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