Leafs make slight tweak to lineup ahead of Game 1 vs. Panthers
The Toronto Maple Leafs are heading back to their regular ways.
The Leafs will be returning to a more traditional look ahead of their Game 1 matchup with the Florida Panthers tonight at Scotiabank Arena, returning to four forward lines and three defensive pairs instead of the 11-forward, seven-defencemen format they’d used earlier in the postseason.
Per The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel, Timothy Liljegren will remain in Toronto’s lineup for his second playoff game, while forward Zach Aston-Reese slots back into the team after being held out during Saturday’s Game 6 series-clinching win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Meanwhile, defenceman Justin Holl, who played the first five games for Toronto while sitting the sixth one, remains out, as does Erik Gustafsson, who was Toronto’s seventh defenceman on Saturday.
It looks like the Leafs will go back to 12/6 in Game 1 against the Panthers.
From the looks of it:
•Timothy Liljegren stays in
•Justin Holl stays out
•Erik Gustafsson is replaced by Zach Aston-Reese
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) May 2, 2023
Toronto’s head coach Sheldon Keefe spoke at yesterday’s practice about his expectations of playing the Panthers, who completed a historic 3-1 comeback and a Game 7 upset over the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins on Sunday night.
“There is a lot of speed and a lot of skill on the [Panthers]. Obviously, they are really confident — not just because of how they just got through a juggernaut in the Boston Bruins but also how they played down the stretch to earn a playoff spot, to begin with,” Keefe told reporters. “They were playing extremely well and obviously have a lot of belief in their group. They carried that right into the playoffs. In a lot of ways, the type of series it is going to be is very similar to the one we just went through.”
Auston Matthews centres the team’s top line between Matthew Knies and William Nylander, while overtime hero John Tavares paces the team’s second line between Calle Jarnkrok and Mitch Marner.
Here’s Toronto’s full expected lineup for Game 1, per TSN’s Mark Masters:
Lines at Leafs practice
Knies – Matthews – Nylander
Jarnkrok – Tavares – Marner
Bunting – O’Reilly – Acciari
Aston-Reese – Kampf – Kerfoot
Rielly – Schenn
McCabe – Brodie
Giordano – Liljegren
Gustafsson – Holl
Murray @TSN_Edge pic.twitter.com/Qa9rwQv0wf
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) May 1, 2023
- Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – William Nylander
- Calle Jarnkrok – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
- Michael Bunting – Ryan O’Reilly – Noel Acciari
- Zach Aston-Reese – David Kampf – Alex Kerfoot
- Extras: Sam Lafferty, Wayne Simmonds
- Morgan Rielly – Luke Schenn
- Jake McCabe – TJ Brodie
- Mark Giordano – Timothy Liljegren
- Extras: Erik Gustafsson – Justin Holl
- Ilya Samsonov
- Joseph Woll
While Matt Murray has joined the Leafs on the ice for each of the last two days, Joseph Woll remains the team’s backup goalie for tonight’s matchup.