Mark Giordano set to make return to Maple Leafs lineup as they begin a back-to-back

Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
6 months ago
After missing the last 12 games due to a broken finger, which he sustained against the Florida Panthers on November 28th, veteran Mark Giordano is set to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup tonight as they begin the first half of a back-to-back against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Tonight’s tilt against the Blue Jackets will be the third meeting between the two clubs since December 14th and the second time Toronto will visit Nationwide Arena in less than a week.
After defeating the Blue Jackets 4-1 in Columbus right before the Christmas break, the Maple Leafs returned to action Wednesday night at home against the Ottawa Senators and dropped that game after going up 2-0 early. Tonight, Toronto will look to bounce back against the team they’ve seen a lot of recently, and with the return of Giordano on the backend, hopefully, they pick up some wins to end 2023.
Before Giordano went down with his injury, the 40-year-old skated in just 20 games, scoring one goal and adding four assists for five points while averaging 17:52 of ice time a night, which is the lowest he’s averaged in a season since the 2008-09 season with the Calgary Flames when he averaged just over 16 minutes a night (16:13).
Despite his age and the workload he has received with the Maple Leafs, given injuries on the backend over the past two seasons, the Toronto native has brought a steady presence on the blue line, and for what his current cap hit is, you cannot ask for much more from the veteran blue liner. He puts his body on the line every time he’s out there on the ice, blocking shots and not shying away from the physical aspect of the game.

Pregame details:

Maple Leafs’ lineup:

Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – John Tavares – William Nylander
Nick Robertson – Max Domi – Calle Jarnkrok
Bobby McMann – David Kampf – Noah Gregor
Morgan Rielly – TJ Brodie
Jake McCabe – Simon Benoit
Mark Giordano – Timothy Liljegren
With Mark Giordano set to return to the lineup tonight, Sheldon Keefe has elected to elevate Simon Benoit to the top-four to play alongside Jake McCabe and scratch William Lagesson, who skated as an extra defenseman alongside Conor Timmins in practice.

Blue Jackets’ lineup:

Johnny Gaudreau – Adam Fantilli – Justin Danforth
Yegor Chinakov – Dmitri Voronkov – Kirill Marchenko
Kent Johnson – Cole Sillinger – Emil Bemstrom
Alexandre Texier – Brendan Gaunce – Mathieu Olivier
Damon Severson – David Jiricek
Ivan Provorov – Andrew Peeke
Jake Bean – Erik Gudbranson

Projected goalies:

Ilya Samsonov (TOR) vs Elvis Merzlikins (CBJ)
After allowing five goals on 19 shots against the Buffalo Sabres on December 21st, Keefe has confirmed that Ilya Samsonov will get the start against Columbus instead of Carolina. And although that might sound like the better idea, which it could be, Samsonov didn’t look all that impressive against the Blue Jackets when they played in Toronto on December 14th, as he allowed six goals on 35 shots, including five on 26 shots through 40 minutes of play.


Sportsnet, 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT
(Stats from Hockey-Reference.com)
(Projected lineups from DailyFaceoff.com)
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