The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without their franchise center for the first time in his young career tonight against the Minnesota Wild. Matthews won't dress after suffering an upper body injury. Nazem Kadri will takeover on the top line, centering William Nylander and Zach Hyman. Frederik Gauthier was recalled from the Marlies but it appears he'll be an extra for the leafs tonight.
We're developing a new addition to our game previews, and that aspect is the watchability level. Before each game, we'll rate on a scale of one to five stars, how watchable the upcoming Leafs game will be. For tonight's contest against the Wild, this one has to have minimal expectations. The Wild have scored 40 goals and allowed 40, and I really just don't expect much offense from their side of things tonight. Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has a solid system in place, but if the Wild take an early lead, this one has all the potential to be a snooze fest. On the other side of things, the Leafs are generally one of the more watchable teams in the NHL, but it'll be interesting with Matthews being out, who decides to take charge on the offensive side of the puck, specifically in transition. I expect Mitch Marner to have a standout game tonight, he needs to be a difference maker and find his way back into the good books of Head Coach Mike Babcock. I'm hesitent, but tonight, I'm going to give this one a 2/5 stars on the watchability scale as I'm a little intrigued by who will step up in place of Matthews. Minnesota just doesn't really move the needle for me, especially with the amount of injuries they have.
Komarov – Kadri – Nylander
Brown – Bozak – Marner
Van Riemsdyk – Marleau – Hyman
Martin – Moore – Leivo
Jason Zucker - Eric Staal - Chris Stewart
Nino Neiderreiter - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund
Daniel Winnik - Joel Eriksson-Ek - Tyler Ennis
Marcus Foligno - Matt Cullen - Luke Kunin
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin - Mathew Dumba
Kyle Quincey - Mike Reilly
Devan Dubnyk starts