As the Toronto Maple Leafs square off against their original six rival Detroit Red Wings, they will be without several familiar faces in the lineup. Mark Masters of TSN was the first to report that Mitch Marner would be sitting out of tonight’s game. Furthermore, Jonas Siegel of The Athletic reports that defensemen Jake McCabe and Mark Giordano will be sitting out tonight as well.
Most of this is load management as Toronto gears up for their quest for the Cup, as none of these players are expected to be out longer than a game or two. Although the Maple Leafs will not reach as many points as they did last season, they are still playing extremely good hockey. As the team looks to finally make it out of the first round, they are resting some of their top players in the stretch run. When the playoffs officially start on April 17th, the Maple Leafs will likely be facing off against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Filling in tonight for the Maple Leafs is defenseman Conor Timmins, and veteran forward Wayne Simmonds. Both Timmins and Simmonds have been used sparingly this season, as neither player has played over 30 games this season.
Other notes from the Eastern Conference:
- Continuing with the Maple Leafs, the team announced that they have recalled forward Nicholas Abruzzese from their AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies. Abruzzese suited up in nine games for Toronto last year in the NHL, scoring a total of one goal. Playing the entirety of this season in the AHL, Abruzzesse has put up 44 points in 65 games for the Maple Leafs’ top minor league team.
- Tom Gulitti from the NHL reports that Sonny Milano will return to the ice for the Washington Capitals in today’s game. Milano had been sidelined with an upper-body injury since the Capitals took on the Chicago Blackhawks on March 23rd. Unfortunately for Washington, forward T.J. Oshie and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk are both sidelined with upper-body injuries. Both players have been out since the team’s March 30th game against the Lightning.