Kasperi Kapanen


WATCH LIVE: Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres



Toronto Maple Leafs

Zach HymanWilliam NylanderConnor Brown

Patrick MarleauNazem KadriMitch Marner

James van RiemsdykTyler BozakLeo Komarov

Matt MartinTomas PlekanecKasperi Kapanen

Morgan RiellyRon Hainsey

Jake GardinerNikita Zaitsev

Travis DermottConnor Carrick

Starting Goalie: Frederik Andersen

[Maple Leafs – Sabres preview.]

Buffalo Sabres

Zemgus GirgensonsRyan O'ReillySam Reinhart

Scott WilsonJohan LarssonJason Pominville

Jordan NolanJacob JosefsonKyle Okposo

Benoit Pouliot — Kyle Criscuolo — Nicholas Baptiste

Marco ScandellaRasmus Ristolainen

Brendan Guhle — Casey Nelson

Nathan BeaulieuVictor Antipin

Starting Goalie: Chad Johnson

WATCH LIVE: NHL Stadium Series 2018 – Capitals vs. Leafs

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NBC’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Saturday night as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals face off in a 2018 Stadium Series game at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland at 8 p.m. ET. You can catch all of the action on NBC or our live stream by clicking here.


Toronto Maple Leafs
Patrick MarleauNazem KadriMitch Marner
Zach HymanTomas PlekanecWilliam Nylander
James van RiemsdykTyler BozakConnor Brown
Leo KomarovDominic MooreKasperi Kapanen

Morgan RiellyRon Hainsey
Jake GardinerNikita Zaitsev
Travis DermottRoman Polak

Starting goalie: Frederik Andersen

[NHL On NBC: Maple Leafs, Capitals meet outside in Stadium Series]


Washington Capitals
Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromTom Wilson
Jakub VranaEvgeny KuznetsovT.J. Oshie
Brett ConnollyLars EllerAndre Burakovsky
Chandler StephensonJay BeagleDevante Smith-Pelly

Michal KempnyJohn Carlson
Dmitry OrlovMatt Niskanen
Brooks OrpikChristian Djoos

Starting goalie: Braden Holtby


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Laying it on the lines: Maple Leafs rolling after adjustments

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Be sure to visit NBCOlympics.com and NBC Olympic Talk for full hockey coverage from PyeongChang.

It’s kind of crazy how a little tinkering can completely change the complexion of an offense.

On Jan. 23, the Toronto Maple Leafs were stuck in a rut. For the better part of the past month-and-a-half, dating back to Dec. 12, they’d essentially spun their tires.

With a 6-7-3 record during that 16-game span, something needed to change, even if they were still sitting comfortably in third place in the Atlantic Division.

Still, limping into the playoffs wouldn’t be ideal for Mike Babcock, so he did what he’s done best over his long tenure as an NHL bench boss: he adjusted.

Gone were the lines that weren’t working and in came something to experiment with.

Mitch Marner moved up to the second line. Leo Komarov dropped down to the fourth. Gone was Frederik Gauthier, who went from the fourth line to the minors. Matt Martin took a seat in the press box. And the Leafs brought up 21-year-old prospect Kasperi Kapanen, who put up good numbers in the American Hockey League.

The result looked like this:

Zach HymanAuston MatthewsWilliam Nylander

Patrick MarleauNazem Kadri – Mitchell Marner

James van RiemsdykTyler BozakConnor Brown

Leo Komarov – Dominic Moore – Kasperi Kapanen

Babcock must be quite the alchemist. His concoction has proven effective. Really effective.

Kadri and Marner have benefitted most. The former had two points in his previous 20 games before welcoming Marner on his right wing. Kadri, during the team’s 9-1-0 run as of late, now has seven goals and 15 points (including a hat trick and a five-point night on Wednesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 6-3 win).

Marner had just one goal in his previous 11 games before linking up with Kadri and Marleau. Since then, he has seven goals and 13 points.

Even Kapanen is getting in on the fun. He’s got two goals and three assists in that span playing a less offensive role on the team’s fourth line.

Babcock wanted balance, and he got it.

The Leafs, for all their offensive successes during this stretch — they’ve scored 43 goals during their past 10 games — could give Frederik Andersen a bit of a break.

Andersen is seeing a lot of rubber. In Wednesday’s win, Andersen saw 19 shots come his way in the first period and another 22 in the second. The barrage continued in the third with a further 16. Yes, the quick math says 57 total shots. The man made 54 saves.

Wednesday’s result could have been much different if not for Andersen’s heroics.

In four of the past 10 games, the Leafs have surrendered 40 or more shots.

As good as Andersen has been for the Leafs, that isn’t sustainable.

The good news for the Leafs and their fans is that Andersen is in the top-five among starters (minimum 1,500 minutes played) when it comes to goals saved above average, one of the better goalie metrics to judge how good a puck-stopper is.

Andersen is also sixth in adjusted save percentage, which takes into account shot location when determining a goalie’s save percentage, taking the traditional metric one step further.

It’s all working right now for Toronto. And within their reach is the top spot in the Atlantic Division. The Leafs are just four points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

The Buzzer: Andersen shuts down Preds; Another McDavid effort wasted


Player Of The Night: Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs picked up a big shootout win over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night thanks in large part to another great performance from starting goaltender Frederik Andersen.

Andersen stopped 44 out of 46 shots on the night and then another six in the shootout.

It was already the fifth time this season (via NHL Public Relations) Andersen has won a game in which he has stopped at least 40 shots, more than any other goaltender in the NHL. Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson is the only other goalie that has at least four such wins.

With a .922 save percentage on the season Andersen has been great for the Maple Leafs and a huge part of their success. Given that the Maple Leafs still have some work to do to improve defensively he is going to play a big role in determining how far they are able to advance in the playoffs.

McDavid Scores Again, But Oilers Lose Again

For the seventh time in the past three games Connor McDavid found the back of the night for the Edmonton Oilers, and it was a pretty outstanding goal as he blew past Drew Doughty with ease and scored his 22nd goal of the season. The sad thing about McDavid scoring seven goals in the past three games? The Oilers have won just one of those games after losing to the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 on Wednesday night. That is pretty much the story of their season. McDavid is great. The rest of the team stinks. It is going to be one of the all-time great wasted seasons. They remain 13 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference playoff race and pretty much need to win 25 of their next 30 games the rest of the way to have a chance to get in.

Highlight Of The Night

Kasperi Kapanen has been a great addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup and he scored a beauty of a shorthanded goal on Wednesday night to put his team up 2-0. Take a look at this individual effort.

Highlight Of The Night Part 2

Speaking of great individual efforts, let’s go back to New York where Boston Bruins forward Tim Schaller kind of embarrassed the Rangers’ defense.

Factoid Of The Night

Drew Doughty became just the second Los Angeles Kings defenseman to record at least 300 career assists and 400 career points. The only other defenseman in team history to reach those milestones was Rob Blake. [NHL Public Reactions]


Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Nashville Predators 2

Boston Bruins 6, New York Rangers 1

Los Angeles Kings 5, Edmonton Oilers 2


Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Patrick Marleau is ice cold in 2018


When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Patrick Marleau to a three-year, $18.75 million contract, even many of the deal’s proponents admitted that the team will probably wiggle out of that last year, somehow.

(Some of the arguments made sense, although the gymnastics could get a little tricky, as you can see from this Leafs Nation write-up by Ian Tulloch detailing a hypothetical future “trade.”)

Marleau probably made those proponents feel pretty great out of the gate, scoring two goals in his Leafs debut and five points in his first five games.

Things haven’t been going so well for Marleau lately, however; in fact, you could probably split his first Toronto season between “quite good” (24 points in 40 games from October through December) and “troubling” (two goals, zero assists in 15 games in 2018).

This lack of production isn’t due to poor opportunities, either.

So far in 2018, Marleau ranks third among Maple Leafs forwards in average ice time with 17:20 per game, including a few more seconds of power-play time per game than Auston Matthews. He’s not killing a ton of penalties (about 30 seconds per game) and is skating with some nice linemates, most often Nazem Kadri and Mitch Marner as of late, according to Left Wing Lock.

Marleau’s usage is far from the only thing one could question about Mike Babcock’s deployment decisions, mind you, although he might be another example of a veteran player getting too many reps:

It makes you wonder if the Maple Leafs already regret the Marleau deal.

Really, that debate isn’t as important as a different one: when the playoffs roll around, will Babcock be willing to bump Marleau down in the lineup (or even make him a healthy scratch) if he remains ineffective?

Babcock has made waves by handing similar demotions to the likes of Marner, which can understandably be seen in part as “sending a message.”

A struggling Marleau (or Komarov, or other veterans) could stand in the way of a hungry, younger player who might be able to provide more of a boost. Players like Josh Leivo and Kasperi Kapanen must be growing antsy from a lack of opportunities, especially when Marleau is providing almost as many inspirational speeches as goals so far in 2018.

It’s easy to picture Marleau snapping out of this funk, and it’s not as though he’s the only Maple Leafs player who is struggling lately. Still, at 38, there’s also the chance that his tank is already approaching empty.

That’s a sad thought for a guy who wouldn’t be out of place in the Hockey Hall of Fame, yet the Maple Leafs must prioritize the present – not to mention the future – more than the past if they want to be a real threat in the playoffs.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.