Photo Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY SPORTS
The Toronto Maple Leafs are back at the Air Canada Centre tonight, here to play their fourth game in this NHL pre-season against their historical rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. A quick glance at the forward lineup, however, would lead you to believe that they’ll be taking tonight very seriously, as the World Cup players draw back in and get joined by some other legitimate roster players.
The Leafs Lineup
Today’s lines come courtesy of Chris Johnston’s twitter:
Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – Milan Michalek
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Mitch Marner
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
Matt Martin – Frederik Gauthier/Brooks Laich – Connor Brown
Martin Marincin – Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner – Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick – Nikita Zaitsev
Rinat Valiev – Roman Polak
Per Paul Hendrick, the Gardiner/Carrick pairing is likely to be the one that gets the night off, Brooks Laich will likely be the sitting forward, and Jhonas Enroth will get the start in goal with Garret Sparks backing him up.
Honestly, this roster doesn’t look terribly far off from an opening night one up front. I’d perhaps re-arrange some players and maybe consider forcing Hyman and Brown to over-ripen just a bit longer in an effort to get Colin Greening and Peter Holland some ice time that they’re still capable of playing, but if those were the choices they went with, I wouldn’t exactly lose sleep.
The defence is a bit weird, in the sense that Nikita Zaitsev is stuck with Matt Hunwick and Morgan Rielly is still playing on his off-side for some reason, but that’s their prerogative. Perhaps they’re trying to force Enroth to get some work in.
The Habs Lineup
I’m going to link to the official tweet for this one, partially because nobody’s broken them up into lines, and partially because there’s an NHL team using Comic Sans MS on official documents in 2016.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) October 2, 2016
This lineup appears to be a pile of long-shots and also David Desharnais, so the onus is going to be on the Leafs to win this one on home ice.
More than anything, it’s going to be real exciting to see the big three play together for the first time in history, even if it is just the preseason. Puck drop for this one is at 7:00 PM, and you can catch the game either at the Air Canada Centre or on Sportsnet One.