As the Toronto Maple Leafs prepare to play the Edmonton Oilers tonight, things have suddenly changed for the team. Instead of a Tuesday game then followed by a Thursday game, there’s no Thursday game. It’s been cancelled. What that means for the team isn’t clear yet, but it should be revealed soon.
In this post, I’ll take a quick look at some of the news that’s emerging as the team prepares for what might be a high-scoring game – at least both teams have the players that could make it so.
Quick Hit One: Three Calgary Flames’ Games Have Been Postponed
Because of a COVID outbreak on the team, the Calgary Flames next three games have been temporarily cancelled. That means anything through to December 16 will be postponed. The Flames were scheduled to play in Chicago last night, then fly to Nashville for a Tuesday game, and then head home for a game Thursday against the Maple Leafs.
Currently, six Flames’ players and one member of the training staff are in COVID protocol. Those players include Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Brad Richardson, Adam Ruzicka, Chris Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov. As I noted, I’m not sure what the Maple Leafs will do – other than not play. Will they stay out west, or head home for a few days?
Quick Hit Two: Jack Campbell Will Be Starting Against the Oilers
The report is that Jack Campbell will be back in his starting role for tonight’s game against the Oilers. Although Campbell’s record doesn’t look bad at 2-1-1 over his last four starts, he’s also allowed at least three goals in all of those four games.
Still, over his 22 games on the season, Campbell is sizzling. His record is now 14-5-2; his goals-against-average remains under 2.0 (at 1.99), and his save percentage is a really strong .935. He also has a great goals-against-average of 2.27 in eight road games.
Campbell’s coming off a game where he gave up four goals on 26 shots to the Tampa Bay Lightning five days ago (it was a 5-3 loss). Fortunately for the Maple Leafs, Petr Mrazek was able to make a start and gave Campbell a bit of a breather from his heavy schedule.
My guess is that Mrazek was slated to start the Flames’ game, with Campbell playing against the Canucks on Saturday. How that will work now, I don’t know. Perhaps it depends upon how he plays tonight.
Quick Hit Three: Nick Ritchie Is Ill and Won’t Play Tonight
Funny, it’s still possible to get sick and not have COVID. Sheldon Keefe announced that Nick Ritchie was ill and wouldn’t play tonight; however, he was quick to point out that Ritchie had tested negative for COVID. Although he isn’t currently traveling with the team, the 26-year-old winger could join the team in Vancouver for the game against the Canucks.
Although the 26-year-old has only registered eight points (with only one goal) during his 29 games on the season, he has six points in his last 10 games. It isn’t as if Ritchie’s been playing poorly; it’s just that he isn’t scoring goals.
Quick Hit Four: Ilya Mikheyev Might Play Tonight
There’s a chance that Ilya Mikheyev – remember him, Maple Leafs’ fans – might play in Tuesday’s game. The report is that his status would be determined by the team’s medical staff this morning.
Should Mikheyev play, he’s not likely to play in the team’s top-six. During practice yesterday, he skated on the line with Pierre Engvall and David Kampf. That means he’ll find himself on the third line. If he does play, good luck to him.
Quick Hit Five: Travis Dermott’s Shoulder Is Healed
Travis Dermott participated full-out in yesterday’s practice and might return to game action tonight against the Oilers. Dermott reported that, because he had injured the same shoulder that required surgery during a practice, the team had been cautious with him.
If Dermott has his way, he’ll play. He reported that he feels ready. However, the team’s medical staff will re-evaluate him this morning to be certain.
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