After routing the Colorado Avalanche 8-3 on Wednesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs have won 15 of their past 17 games and travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild.
The big concern for the Maple Leafs going into Saturday’s game is surrounding the health of right winger Mitch Marner, who was on the wrong end of a practice collision with defenceman Jake Muzzin. The Maple Leafs will check on Marner Saturday to verify that he is good to go.
The Maple Leafs may get Ondrej Kase back in the lineup. He has missed the past three games with an upper-body injury. If that is the case, it’s possible he moves up to the first line to fill in for Marner, if needed. Joey Anderson is available to take Kase’s usual spot on the third line.
On defence, Morgan Rielly did not practice Friday as he is dealing with the effects of a shot block on Toronto’s recent trip through California. The Maple Leafs have a pretty steady group of seven defencemen, so they could handle Rielly missing a game or two, but it would not come as a surprise if Rielly is in Saturday’s lineup.
Jack Campbell will start in net again for the Maple Leafs. He was my pick for the Vezina Trophy through the first quarter of the season.
Captain John Tavares leads the Maple Leafs in scoring with 25 points (11 G, 14 A) in 23 games. Auston Matthews leads the club with 13 goals in 21 games.
Toronto enters Saturday’s contest with a 17-6-1 record, good for 35 points in 24 games. That has them tied with Florida for first place in the Atlantic Division, though the Leafs have played one more game.
Here is the expected lineup for the Maple Leafs at Minnesota:
Bunting – Matthews – Marner
Kerfoot – Tavares – Nylander
Engvall – Kampf – Kase
Ritchie – Spezza – Simmonds
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Sandin – Dermott
The Minnesota Wild have won five straight games to create some breathing room for them at the top of the Central Division.
Minnesota has been without captain Jared Spurgeon, a notable loss on their blueline, but that has not slowed the team down any.
A resurgent Kirill Kaprizov leads the Wild with 28 points (9 G, 19 A) in 23 games.
The Wild are 16-6-1, good enough for first place in the Central Division.
Here are expected lines for the Minnesota Wild on Saturday:
Kaprizov – Hartman – Zuccarello
Greenway – Eriksson Ek – Foligno
Pitlick – Rask – Fiala
Duhaime – Sturm – Bjugstad
Brodin – Dumba
Merrill – Goligoski
Benn – Kulikov
Toronto Maple Leafs (-120) at Minnesota Wild
This is a reasonable enough price to consider the Maple Leafs, even though the Wild have been on a roll in their own right. My inclination would be to expect a decent amount of offence in this game, but I would probably avoid the total.
Watch on Sportsnet/CBC and listen on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto.
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