May 20, 2022

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There’s a risk of a Maple Leafs roster change in Recreation 3 towards the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Coach Sheldon Keefe on Thursday would not robotically advance Kyle Clifford, who was suspended for Recreation 2, again Friday evening because the best-of-seven sequence strikes to Tampa.

“I have not selected the lineup but,” Keefe stated. “We’ve got time to course of it. It was a quick flip.

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“We didn’t dig too deep into something. We’ll see how the group is doing when it comes to well being and make choices from there.”

On Thursday, the Leafs didn’t observe, however met on the Ford Efficiency Heart earlier than a visit to Florida.

It will likely be fascinating to see what Keef in the end decides. As a lot as he desires Clifford’s and Wayne Simmonds’ physicality to play a significant position within the sequence at 1-1, he cannot threat both of them taking unruly penalties.

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Nonetheless, that is precisely what occurred in Recreation 1, when Clifford boarded Tampa ahead Ross Colton and was suspended for one recreation, and Recreation 2, when Simmonds took two minors after the whistle and the Lightning scored in each.

The second recreation was not within the spirit of the Leafs when it comes to penalties. The Lightning’s seven energy performs – they scored in three of them – was essentially the most towards the Leafs in any recreation this season. The earlier excessive was six and it solely occurred as soon as, on April 5 towards Florida.

“I feel within the league[in the first few nights of the playoffs]the way in which the video games have been known as was, frankly, a little bit of a shock,” Keefe stated. “There have been plenty of penalties, plenty of energy performs.

“I didn’t watch or comply with all of the video games, however evidently there are extra calls. There was plenty of interference, obstruction sort issues that you just’re not used to seeing so exhausting at the moment. It created a special feeling than what you anticipated.”

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A very good lineup for Keefe is veteran Jason Spezza, who was wholesome within the first two video games. Keef will not have to fret concerning the 38-year-old’s indiscipline, and Spezza will add artistic aptitude to the second powerplay squad, which incorporates Ondrej Kase, Ilya Mikheev and Michael Banting.

Will Keefe be capable to sit as Clifford and Simmonds after they each change for the primary recreation? That might be an actual change of coronary heart, would not it?

If Spezza will get there, there is no such thing as a doubt what he’ll carry.

“I count on a veteran participant like him who is aware of easy methods to play is not going to panic,” Keefe stated. “He trusts his capability and his talent.”

DISCIPLINE STUDENTS

Now that the Leafs have realized the exhausting method that referees will use their whistles, correct self-discipline turns into extra of an element going ahead.

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First, every little thing that tempts destiny after the whistle have to be stopped.

“Now we perceive the place the usual is, and that is nice,” stated heart ahead Auston Matthews. “We simply have to verify we play between these strains.

“To be collected and play exhausting between whistles with out getting concerned in extracurricular actions (important).”

As for the penalties that got here in the course of the recreation?

“Simply transfer your toes, maintain good sticks,” defenseman Mark Giordano stated. “You get in bother if you cease shifting your legs, you cease entering into correct physique place, and also you begin reaching and grabbing.

“There isn’t any doubt that he’s known as robust, and we’ve got to confess it.”

REINFORCED

Though he stated he “felt good” in Recreation 2, goaltender Jack Campbell wasn’t about to let go of 5 targets in a 5-3 loss, not to mention two tied.

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“I nonetheless count on that after I play towards a shooter, I am going to give you all these saves,” stated Campbell.

Did his work make his job tougher due to the variety of pranks in Tampa?

“It is simply enjoyable to take a couple of pictures and much more enjoyable to cease them,” Campbell stated, refusing to even trace at what may very well be taken as criticism of his teammates.

“It is fairly exhausting to play powerplay towards Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Not many groups have two choices. They’re nice gamers. They are going to play properly and my job is to cease a couple of targets.”

FREE LEAVES

A lot for Stamkos’ run to the tip of the common season, scoring at the least two factors in every of his final 9 video games and 26 factors (10 targets and 16 assists) in that span. The Lightning captain has one help within the sequence and two pictures on objective, each within the first recreation. Leafs captain John Tavares was equally quiet, additionally solely recording one help to this point… Giordano on Victor Hedman, whose 4 factors in Recreation 2 helped Tampa: “He is one of the best defenseman within the league. He has been for the final 5, six years for some cause. He performs very properly in his zone, he can go on the ice and play in any state of affairs. You must keep above him, you’ll be able to’t let him be part of the sport at any time when he desires to, make him cease and make his recreation tougher.”

tkoshan@postmedia.com

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