The Toronto Maple Leafs look to learn from mistakes made on Monday in their rematch against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday.
The Leafs enjoyed a 5-1 lead until Ottawa stormed to complete a comeback 6-5 victory against the North Division’s best team two days ago.
“I think we just need to get rid of our sloppiness,” Leafs forward Mitch Marner said. “What we had going, the amount of turnovers we had going were unacceptable.”
The Leafs will not make any changes to their lineup against the Sens on Wednesday. They did make some adjustments to their power play.
Joe Thornton, who made his return to the lineup on Monday after missing 10 games with a rib fracture, will move to the front of the net on the team’s first power-play unit.
Toronto’s power play has cooled as of late. Apart from scoring on a 5-on-3 on Monday, the team went the previous three games without scoring with the man advantage.
The power play’s slowing started as Wayne Simmonds injured his wrist on Feb. 6 against the Vancouver Canucks. A reliable presence in front of the net on the power play, Toronto hasn’t found the right mix since losing Simmonds.
Travis Boyd moved up to the first power-play unit, while Zach Hyman will be the net-front player on the team’s second unit.
Tavares and Nylander’s production
Toronto’s second line has gone cold offensively this season. John Tavares and William Nylander have been the two mainstays of the line.
Tavares has no goals in his last five games and just one even-strength tally in 16 games this season.
“You can tell he’s fighting it a little bit but I like to focus on a lot of the positive that have come out of his game,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He’s been a lot more responsible on the defensive side, but you are going to give up offence when you do that, that’s just the reality of it.”
Nylander has two goals in his last 15 games. Keefe likened his situation to Tavares as being a solid line defensively this season.
“It’s a give and take,” Nylander said. “And that’s why our games haven’t been as wide open.”
Vesey’s time running out?
Jimmy Vesey will play his second straight game on the team’s fourth line. With just two goals and one assist this season, Vesey has had many lengthy 1-on-1 conversations on the ice with various coaching staff members.
With Nick Robertson skating well in his return to action with the Toronto Marlies (one goal and two assists in two games in the AHL) and the recent addition of Alex Galchenyuk in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, Vesey may be running out of chances to prove himself worthy of ice time.
Galchenyuk is still in COVID protocol but could join the Leafs on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate if everything checks out, according to Keefe.
Brannstrom returns for Ottawa
The Senators will make one change to their lineup. Defenseman Erik Brannstrom returns to the team’s lineup. His undisclosed injury kept him out of the lineup since Feb. 8. Christian Wolanin comes out to make room for Brannstrom.