After losing to the Senators in Ottawa Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs will look to rebound at home Saturday.
The most obvious change will come in goal, where Jack Campbell will start. Campbell got the nod for the first game of the season before Petr Mrazek started Thursday in Ottawa. Mrazek suffered a lower-body injury in that game, forcing Campbell to come in for the third period. Campbell will start Saturday, having stopped 41 of 42 shots that he has faced in two appearances this season.
WHO IS ALEX BISHOP?
What is more interesting about the Maple Leafs goaltending situation is that, with Mrazek injured, the Maple Leafs do not have the cap room needed to call up Michael Hutchinson to the roster, which means that Toronto is going to be signing University of Toronto goaltender Alex Bishop to an amateur tryout.
Bishop is a 24-year-old from Markham, Ontario who played 72 games for Saint John, Quebec, and Val d’Or in the QMJHL from 2014-2015 through 2016-2017. He has been a quality USports goaltender, posting a .920 save percentage in 46 games at the University of Toronto. The University of Toronto did not play last season, due to Covid-19, but Bishop’s track record is such that while he is not an NHL-calibre goaltender, he is also not just a random guy off the street either.
Does the phrase ‘flying too close to the sun’ come to mind when looking at the Maple Leafs’ salary cap situation? When Mrazek’s injury, in the first week of the season, puts the Maple Leafs in the position to sign an amateur tryout to be their backup goaltender for a Saturday night game on Hockey Night in Canada, well, that seems like less than ideal cap management.
The reason for the cap gymnastics is that the Toronto Maple Leafs will also be missing Justin Holl, who has cold symptoms and was still waiting for results of a PCR test. With Holl out, the Maple Leafs need to press Timothy Liljegren into the lineup and that further complicates the cap situation.
Up front, the Maple Leafs have the same 12 players in the lineup but it appears that Jason Spezza has shifted to left wing, with Michael Amadio taking centre, on the fourth line. Although Spezza did contribute a goal and an assist for Toronto Thursday, both of those points were on the power play. He has struggled during 5-on-5 play in the first two games, so shaking up his positional responsibility makes sense.
Toronto’s expected lineup for the third game of the season:
Ritchie – Tavares – Marner
Bunting – Kerfoot – Nylander
Engvall – Kampf – Kase
Spezza – Amadio – Simmonds
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Liljegren
Sandin – Dermott
For the Senators, it appears that recently signed Brady Tkachuk is not going to be ready to play Saturday. There is a possibility of Sunday against Dallas but, failing that, Thursday against San Jose seems a sure thing for the winger who missed all of training camp with a protracted contract negotiation.
The other question about the Sens lineup is in goal. Matt Murray, who is on the injured list due to illness, is with the team and was skating this morning but, after a standout performance in Thursday’s game against Toronto, the Sens should have no issue with Anton Forsberg getting his second straight start in goal.
Here is Ottawa’s expected lineup for Saturday’s game:
Stutzle – Norris – Batherson
Paul – Pinto – C. Brown
Formenton – Tierney – Ennis
Sanford – Shaw – Kelly
Chabot – Zub
Mete – Zaitsev
Holden – J. Brown
Watch on CBC/Sportsnet and listen on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto.
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