Leafs reveal projected lines for first playoff game against Lightning

Apr 17 2023, 6:51 pm

The most anxiety-inducing moment of the year is almost here for many Toronto sports fans: the start of another Maple Leafs playoff series.

One day out from tomorrow’s Game 1 matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a rematch of their first-round series from 2022, the Leafs hit the ice today in their final full practice before things get going for real.

And lining up with a familiar Michael Bunting/Auston Matthews/Mitch Marner top line, the Leafs are hoping that they’ve settled for the right mix to finally win their first playoff series since 2004.

“There is a lot of experience we have picked up along the way, not to mention [trading for Mark] Giordano last season. We have picked up these guys along the way that we think bring a lot to the group and help a lot with our confidence going forward,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters Sunday.

Via TSN’s Mark Masters’ here’s what Toronto’s line combinations look like for tomorrow’s matchup:

Forward line combinations

  • Michael Bunting – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
  • John Tavares – Ryan O’Reilly – William Nylander
  • Alexander Kerfoot – Noel Acciari – Calle Jarnkrok
  • Zach Aston-Reese – David Kampf – Sam Lafferty
  • Extras: Matthew Knies, Wayne Simmonds

Defensive pairings:

  • Jake McCabe – TJ Brodie
  • Morgan Rielly – Luke Schenn
  • Mark Giordano – Justin Holl
  • Extras: Erik Gustafsson – Timothy Liljegren  Connor Timmins


  • Ilya Samsonov
  • Joseph Woll

And here’s how the Lightning line up, (via @BoltsRadio).

Forward line combinations

  • Steven Stamkos – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
  • Ross Colton – Nick Paul – Mikey Eyssimont
  • Brandon Hagel – Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli
  • Patrick Maroon – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Corey Perry

Extras: Tanner Jeannot

Defensive pairings:

  • Victor Hedman-Nick Perbix
  • Mikhail Sergachev-Taylor Raddysh
  • Ian Cole-Erik Cernak

Extras: Haydn Fleury-Zach Bogosian


  • Andrei Vasilevskiy
  • Brian Elliott

“In general, matchups aren’t quite what they used to be because of how teams manage that. In open play and different things, you are trying to look at it. We, of course, have a bit of a sample from last season of some of the different matchups,” Keefe added about facing off against Tampa Bay. “Sometimes, it is not always about the forward matchups as much as it is about the defensive matchups. Sometimes, you focus a little bit more on that and try to make it hard on them to get their best defenders against your guys.”

Puck drop for tomorrow’s game is set for 7:30 pm ET, and it will be nationally broadcast on both CBC and Sportsnet.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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