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Mitch Marner returns to lineup as the Maple Leafs debut new lines against Montreal

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
21 days ago
After missing the last 12 games due to a high-ankle sprain suffered in a game against the Boston Bruins in early March, Mitch Marner is set to return to the Maple Leafs’ lineup tonight for the third and final meeting of the season against the Montreal Canadiens.
It’s been a strange season for Toronto. From firing their general manager to bringing in a new boss to turning over a quarter of the roster and going through multiple injuries and illnesses, the Maple Leafs have found a way to clinch a playoff spot. After all this, they’ll get one of their best players back in the lineup for the final seven games of the regular season as they prepare for the postseason for the eighth consecutive year.
In Marner’s absence, Toronto went 7-4-1, including a three-game point streak and a three-game winning streak. 7-4-1 isn’t some crazy record, but without Marner, among other regulars, it’s a very respectable record, especially given the Maple Leafs held a 12-13-4 record without Marner from 2016-17 to 2022-23, according to Statmuse.com.
With Marner sidelined for the past month with his second high-ankle sprain in five years, Sheldon Keefe ran with a new-look top line, and although they haven’t played a ton together, Bertuzzi, Matthews, and Domi sure looked like they have. There were questions about the possibility of Keefe breaking up the top line when Marner returned. But after another full practice with the team, Keefe will keep the Bertuzzi, Matthews, and Domi line intact, and Marner will slot alongside Tavares on the second line.
In doing this, Keefe and the coaching staff have decided to move William Nylander down the lineup to spread out Matthews, Marner, and Nylander. We’ve seen them do this before, but this time, they might have four lines that could work together. We’ll have to wait and see.

Pregame details:

Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup:

Tyler Bertuzzi – Auston Matthews – Max Domi
Bobby McMann – John Tavares – Mitch Marner
Matthew Knies – Pontus Holmberg – William Nylander
Connor Dewar – David Kampf – Ryan Reaves
Morgan Rielly – Ilya Lyubushkin
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Mark Giordano – T.J. Brodie
One lineup note: With the return of Marner, Keefe will be sticking with Bertuzzi and Domi on the wings of Matthews, as mentioned above. With another goal – his 63rd of the season – Wednesday night, Auston Matthews enters tonight’s game needing seven goals to reach the 70-goal mark and just three away from breaking Alex Ovechkin’s salary cap era record for goals in a season (65).

Montreal Canadiens’ lineup:

Cole Caufield – Nick Suzuki – Juraj Slafkovsky
Brendan Gallagher – Alex Newhook – Joel Armia
Tanner Pearson – Jake Evans – Josh Anderson
Michael Pezzetta – Colin White – Rafael Harvey-Pinard
Mike Matheson – Jordan Harris
Justin Barron – David Savard
Jayden Struble – Jonathan Kovacevic

Projected goalies:

Ilya Samsonov (TOR) vs Sam Montembeault (MTL)
After allowing four goals on 25 shots in Toronto’s 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night, Joseph Woll will serve as the backup tonight to Ilya Samsonov, who will start for the fourth time in the last six games, most recent start coming against the Florida Panthers on Monday night.

Broadcast:

Sportsnet, 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT
(Stats from hockey-reference.com)
(Projected lineups from dailyfaceoff.com)

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