The 2023 Playoffs are fully underway and the Leafs have once again kicked off the second season on the wrong foot.
Tuesday night’s 7-3 loss to the Lightning was a disaster no matter how you slice it. They looked nervous to start the game, badly lost the special teams battle, Ilya Samsonov had a rough outing, and Michael Bunting laid an unnecessary hit that resulted in him being suspended for the next three games.
While the series is far from over (and they have a chance to get back on track tonight), the Leafs certainly did themselves no favours to begin a pivotal playoff series with the future direction of the team hanging in the balance.
During the Leafs’ nightmare game, I kept thinking about the projections I made over a month ago for how the Leafs would have their lines to begin the postseason. This article acts as a follow-up so we can see just how wrong (or right) I was in my educated guesses for what Sheldon Keefe would do.
Extra: Aston-Reese, Simmonds
Extras: Knies, Simmonds
The only player that I projected to appear on Tuesday that didn’t was Matthew Knies, but how I predicted the lines would look was not exactly accurate.
Given how effective Mitch Marner was when paired up with John Tavares and Ryan O’Reilly, it would have made sense for that line to have been used. Keefe instead opted to return to the safe choice of the Leafs’ top line over the past two seasons. Bunting did not finish the game on this line and Calle Jarnkrok wound up getting reunited with Marner and Auston Matthews, which resulted in …
Author: Michael Mazzei / The Leafs Nation