This game comes with an unusually early start time, 6:00pm ET. The reason for the time shift is that Toronto will be playing at Pittsburgh Saturday and with cross-border travel as part of the equation, the Maple Leafs feel like that little bit of extra time will help navigate those circumstances.
It could make for a sparsely attended game early in the first period. Friday afternoon/evening traffic in Toronto is not agreeable at the best of times so people scrambling to make it in for puck drop should be an interesting dynamic.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have not played since Monday, so the team is relatively healthy, so the forward lines and defence pairings are as expected.
There will be a change in goal, though, as Michael Hutchinson is getting the start Friday, with Jack Campbell expected to start in Pittsburgh Saturday. Hutchinson did start eight games for the Maple Leafs last season and posted a .919 save percentage in those games, not bad at all for a spot starter.
The Maple Leafs lost 2-1 in overtime at home against the New York Rangers Monday, a game in which the Maple Leafs controlled play but had a difficult time beating Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin. They will face a Sharks team that has had solid goaltending early in this season.
Toronto’s expected lineup for the fifth game of the season:
Ritchie – Matthews – Marner
Bunting – Tavares – Nylander
Kerfoot – Kampf – Kase
Engvall – Spezza – Simmonds
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Sandin – Dermott
The San Jose Sharks arrive in Toronto with a 3-0 record, having defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-1 Thursday night in the nation’s capital.
Through the first three games the Sharks’ leading scorers are defenceman Erik Karlsson and right winger Timo Meier, both of whom have one goal and four assists. Meier has also put 18 shots on goal, so he has been a consistent offensive threat early in the season.
Former Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer stopped 30 of 31 shots against the Senators in Thursday’s win, so Adin Hill is expected to get the start against Toronto. Hill, who was acquired in a trade with Arizona in the offseason, has stopped 41 of 44 shots (.932 SV%) in his two starts this season
Here is the Sharks’ expected lineup for Friday’s game:
Dahlen – Couture – Meier
Eklund – Hertl – Balcers
Nieto – Bonino – Labanc
Cogliano – Weatherby – Pederson
Ferraro – Burns
Middleton – Karlsson
Simek – Vlasic
Watch on TSN and listen on Sportsnet590 The Fan in Toronto.
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