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2021 World Juniors: Russia vs. USA — Lineups & start time – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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Russia vs. USA

How to watch

Puck drop: 9:30 PM EST / 6:30 PM PST
In Canada: TSN (English,) RDS (French)
In the United States: NHL Network
Live stream: TSN Direct, RDS Direct

With just one pre-tournament game to get the players up to speed in Edmonton, the 2021 World Juniors officially begin today. After opening matches between Switzerland and Slovakia, and Germany and Finland, the event gets its first blockbuster, with a game between the United States and last year’s runner-up, Russia.

The U.S. looked good in their game against Finland, dictating the play from start to finish, and getting a two-goal outburst from Cole Caufield early in the middle period, the second of which will be tough to beat for the best goal scored in the WJC bubble. Caufield and Team USA are looking for bounce-back performances after last year, and the early indication is that all parties are ready to make a run at gold.

Russia, meanwhile, was a split-second behind the action in an overall rough outing versus Canada. That’s nothing new for the Russians, who always seem to have slow starts and make you wonder if they will even get past the quarters, only to turn up their play when it matters most.

Comparing those two performances, it would appear that the United States has the upper hand, but a key matchup in what will be a difficult group may bring Russia out of hibernation a bit early this year.

Team Russia projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
#27 Rodion Amirov #22 Marat Khusnutdinov #19 Vasili Podkolzin
#8 Arseni Gritsyuk #24 Ilya Safonov #10 Vladislav Firstov
#23 Yegor Afanasyev #13 Vasili Ponomaryov #28 Maxim Groshev
#11 Zakhar Bardakov #18 Yegor Spiridinov #21 Yegor Chinakhov

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
#17 Shakir Mukhamadullin #6 Semyon Chistyakov
#5 Daniil Chayka #2 Yan Kuznetsov
#20 Kirill Kirsanov #3 Artemi Knyazev

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
#1 Yaroslav Askarov #30 Vsevolod Skotnikov

Team USA projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
#9 Trevor Zegras #15 Alex Turcotte #28 Arthur Kaliyev
#24 Bobby Brink #10 Matthew Beniers #13 Cole Caufield
#26 Landon Slaggert #25 John Farinacci #19 Patrick Moynihan
#18 Brendan Brisson #12 Matthew Boldy #22 Sam Colangelo

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
#4 Cam York #3 Henry Thrun
#8 Jake Sanderson #5 Jackson LaCombe
#23 Ryan Johnson #11 Brock Faber

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
#30 Spencer Knight #32 Dustin Wolf

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Michael Hutchinson returns to the backup seat as Jack Campbell out "weeks" with LBI – Maple Leafs Hot Stove

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Man plans, the hockey Gods laugh.

The Leafs’ robust strategy for addressing their goaltending depth throughout 2020 —acquiring Jack Campbell from LA last February with good early returns, and signing Aaron Dell, who started 33 games for the San Jose Sharks last season (.907), to be their #3 this past offseason — has been undermined, at least for the next several weeks, by a collection of conspiring forces: injuries, lack of cap space, and a waiver claim.

The Leafs are now left with Michael Hutchinson in the backup position again just seven games into the 2021 season — at least while Jack Campbell recovers from his leg injury sustained in Calgary.

To recap the timeline:

  • After the botched Curtis McElhinney – Garret Sparks decision in October 2018, the Leafs were left to scramble for backup help and ended up acquiring Michael Hutchinson in December 2018 from the Florida Panthers. Hutchinson recorded a .887 save percentage in nine appearances that season while passing through waivers once. The Leafs re-signed him the following offseason.
  • After bringing Michal Neuvirth to camp on a PTO in hopes he could grab the backup reins only for Neuvirth to bail to Europe, Hutchinson entered the 2019-20 season as the Leafs’ backup and posted a .888 in 16 appearances.
  • The Leafs acquired Jack Campbell in early February of 2020.  Hutchinson was waived and sent to the minors a week later, then traded to Colorado in the deal for Calle Rosen at the trade deadline.
  • The Leafs signed Aaron Dell as their #3 before signing Hutchinson, who had made his playoff debut in the Avalanche crease for three starts in the playoffs (winning Games 5 and 6 but losing Game 7), as the Leafs’ #4 in October of 2020.
  • An injury to Nick Robertson forced the Leafs to expose Aaron Dell to waivers earlier than they would’ve hoped due to cap constraints (though it was somewhat inevitable this would occur at some point this season). Dell was claimed by New Jersey. Hutchinson was called up to the taxi squad.
  • Jack Campbell went down to an injury versus Calgary in game #7 of the 2021 season, returning Hutchinson to the backup position for the next several weeks.

It’s not how you would’ve drawn it up in a year where the games are coming fast and furious and more rest for Frederik Andersen was a clear priority entering the season. But them’s the breaks.

The good news for the Leafs is that they do not have any back-to-backs until February 17-18 against the Ottawa Senators. That means they can roll with Andersen if they’d like for the next 10 games without starting him two nights in a row, and the next back-to-back comes against the worst team in the division. They also don’t have another two-games-in-two-nights after the Feb. 17-18 games versus Ottawa until March 13-14. They could still look to give Hutchinson a softer-looking start — the Leafs are an improved defensive team so far this season, and Hutchinson was competent in the playoffs — at some point in the next 10 games to give Andersen a breather.

The Leafs could also keep an eye on the waiver wire in the next few weeks, although knowing the above about the schedule, they could just ride this out with Andersen and Hutchinson. Cap wise, the Leafs are already into LTIR with the Joe Thornton and Nick Robertson contracts, and they can move Campbell onto LTIR now as well, giving them the ability to add another option if they would like.

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Maple Leafs’ goaltending depth evaporates quickly with Campbell injury – Sportsnet.ca

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Depth is a wonderful luxury in this compacted sprint of an NHL season. But, oh boy, can it dry up fast.

Even a team as prepared for absentee goaltenders as the Toronto Maple Leafs — who made sure to load up on four netminders with a minimum of 17 NHL appearances in 2019-20 — can have their most critical position tested before their eighth game of 2021.

Last week, cap-tight Toronto lost stud third-string goalie Aaron Dell to a New Jersey Devils waiver claim.

On Tuesday, coach Sheldon Keefe announced that backup Jack Campbell (2-0-0, .923) would be sidelined “weeks, not days” with a leg injury suffered in Sunday’s victory over the Flames, interrupting the affable No. 2’s stellar start.

Re-enter Michael Hutchinson, who will don the ballcap on the Maple Leafs bench for the foreseeable future.

Ostensibly, Hutchinson was signed back to Toronto in the off-season for two years and $1.45 million to fulfill an expansion draft qualification, improve the farm club’s save percentage and provide a known commodity in an emergency situation.

It’s not a five-alarm blaze yet, but the pressure on starter Frederik Andersen to perform — and stay healthy — just ratcheted up a notch.

“That’s the game,” Keefe said. “That’s why you try to set yourself up with as much depth as possible, to deal with whatever might come our way. I do think the way the schedule sets up here now, it’s pretty favourable for us and for Fred Andersen’s workload.”

Knock on wood, Andersen (3-2-0, .898 save percentage) could well start all of Toronto’s next nine matches before the club’s next back-to-back, Feb. 17-18 versus Ottawa.

“We still have lots of confidence in both Fred and Hutch,” Keefe said. “He’s coming here with a different level of confidence than what he had last time around.”

Hutchinson — a 30-year-old journeyman — went 4-9-1 with a .889 save percentage for the 2019-20 Maple Leafs and was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche at the 2020 trade deadline.

When the Avs suffered multiple goaltending injuries in the playoff bubble, Hutchinson played admirably in relief, going 2-1 with a .910 save percentage in Colorado’s tight second-round series against the Dallas Stars.

“He had a tough go here. At the same time, I believe there was a point in time where he won [three] consecutive starts for us,” Keefe said. “He was finding his way, and then towards the end, it didn’t go well. But he went off to Colorado, got put in a really tough position in the playoffs and gave them an opportunity to compete and get to Game 7.”

Hutchinson’s forced promotion to the backup role is just one of a handful of lineup changes Keefe is making in advance of Tuesday’s rematch in Calgary.

Mikko Lehtonen will draw in for defenceman Travis Dermott, who was dealt his first healthy scratch since 2018-19.

Forwards Travis Boyd and Joey Anderson will both make their Maple Leafs debut, replacing Jason Spezza and Alexander Barabanov.

And Ilya Mikheyev has earned himself a promotion to the top six, where he’ll flank John Tavares.

“Mikheyev has played very well. Lots of speed,” Keefe said.

“Mickey has been really good here for the last few games. It hasn’t resulted in goals or points or anything like that here quite yet, but he’s been getting these opportunities. It’s just a matter of time.”

Joseph Woll, the club’s 22-year-old prospect, is en route to Alberta. He’ll join the Leafs road trip and fill the taxi squad’s goaltending spot.

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Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell out ‘weeks’ with leg injury – Sportsnet.ca

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Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell will be out for “weeks” with a leg injury, head coach Sheldon Keefe said Tuesday.

Michael Hutchinson will act as Toronto’s backup goalie in Campbell’s absence, while Joseph Woll is moving to the team’s taxi squad as a result of the injury.

It is not yet clear how Campbell was injured. The 29-year-old started in net for the Maple Leafs on Sunday when they took on the Calgary Flames. Near the end of the third period, Campbell appeared to be in discomfort after making a save and was seen hunched over in the crease and shaking his leg while the action was out of the Leafs’ zone.

With less than a minute left in the game, a crease scramble led to Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk’s knee driving onto Campbell while he was lying face-down on the ice. Afterwards, it took a few moments for Campbell to get back on his feet, however he did stay in net for the remainder of the game.

Campbell did not practice with the Leafs on Monday. So far this season, Campbell is sporting a 2-0-0 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

Defenceman Travis Dermott will be a healthy scratch against Calgary Tuesday as Mikko Lehtonen will take his spot in the third pairing. It’s the first time Dermott will be a healthy scratch since the 2018-19 season.

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