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Maple Leafs Quick Hits: Simmonds, Murray & Giordano

The Toronto Maple Leafs will play the Minnesota Wild today. What’s happening with the team as it prepares for that game?

In this addition of Toronto Maple Leafs Quick Hits, I’ll take a look at three players on the team who either have done really well in the past few games or who will find their ways into the lineup in upcoming games.

First, today when the Maple Leafs play the Minnesota Wild, Wayne Simmonds will find his way back into the lineup. That means, with Simmonds in, Nick Robertson will be out.

Second, i’ll look at Matt Murray’s recent success between the pipes, and report that he will be in net again this afternoon in Minnesota. He’s been nothing short of sensational since he’s been back from his injury. He’s given the Maple Leafs solid goaltending in the three games he’s played.

Matt Murray Maple Leafs

Third, I’ll take a look at the aging warrior Mark Giordano. The former Norris Trophy winner has been playing outstanding hockey for the Maple Leafs. As noted, he’s the oldest skater in the NHL this season. However, he’s certainly not acting like it or looking like it.

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Quick Hit One: Will Wayne Simmonds Be Needed Against the Wild?

I’m not sure which is worse. Being an NHL veteran who’s had great past success but was put on waivers by your team, or being an NHL veteran who’s had great past success but was put on waivers by your team – but was not picked up.

Both of those are the situation that Wayne Simmonds finds himself in. Being pragmatic with a young family, there’s probably good news after the ego-busting waiver wire. That is Simmonds (and his family) will be staying home in the Toronto area.

Wayne Simmonds, Maple Leafs

In fact, Simmonds will be in this afternoon’s starting lineup in Minnesota against the Wild. Simmonds was placed on waivers, but no one picked him up. He’ll be a part of the fourth line tomorrow. It’s his fifth game of the season., and he’s had a single assist in the previous four.

With the Maple Leafs in Minnesota and with the Wild just picking up the very physical Ryan Reaves, it would seem that there’s a chance that Simmonds will be needed to add some grit to the team with both Jake Muzzin and Jordie Benn missing because of injuries.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs 2-1 Win vs. Devils

Quick Hit Two: Matt Murray Starting Second Game in a Row

Today it was reported that Matt Murray would get today’s start against the Wild. Murray has been great since returning from his injury. Against the Buffalo Sabres last Saturday, Murray stopped 32 of 34 shots. He got the night off when Erik Kallgren was in the net against the New York Islanders.

On Wednesday night in New Jersey, Murray was masterful in helping his team stop the Devils 13-game winning streak. He made 34 saves in the’s 2-1 win. Since he’s come back from his injury, he hasn’t lost in regulation. In three games played, he’s posted a record of 2-0-1.

On the season, Murray’s record is 3-1-1 with a goals-against-average of 2.41 and a save percentage of .926. The Wild averagee 2.84 goals eacb game, which is tied for 23rd in the NHL.

Related: Maple Leafs Robertson Hates Being Scratched But Likes the Pay

Quick Hit Three: Mark Giordano Isn’t Acting His Age

On Wednesday night, Mark Giordano played another great game. If he isn’t the biggest value contract on the Maple Leafs roster, I don’t know who is. He’s still really good. Not the least of his play was that he blocked shot after shot – in fact he stopped six shots in all during his team’s win.

Giordano, who’s the oldest skater in the NHL this season, logged 24:43 for the Maple Leafs against the Devils. Would you call Giordano’s play fearless? Perhaps, but that wouldn’t extend to being a target of Devils’ fans who pelted the team with full cans of beer and pop.

As Giordano said after the game, “We can laugh now because no one got hurt or hit. I’m sure a full beer or Coke to the head wouldn’t feel good from up there.”

The bottom line is that Giordano’s been a great addition to the team this season. He’s particularly showing his worth with the other defensemen down and out. If he were injured, it would be harder to cover for him.

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