Toronto heads to Montreal to open first half of a back-to-back: Maple Leafs pregame

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
9 months ago
After an off day yesterday, the Toronto Maple Leafs are back in action tonight as they visit Montreal to take on the Canadiens in the first half of a back-to-back.
Toronto finally picked up their first win as they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 in St. Thomas, Ontario, Wednesday night for Kraft Hockeyville’s preseason game.
Tonight, the Maple Leafs are looking to continue that performance and beat a Canadiens team that is 1-1-0 to start their preseason schedule.

Maple Leafs’ lineup:

Tonight’s roster, as seen above from a post by the Maple Leafs PR account on X, is yet again different from the previous game but will still feature some players who played in Wednesday night’s victory over Buffalo.
The lineup tonight is headlined by Tyler Bertuzzi, Matthew Knies, Nick Robertson, Ilya Samsonov and a handful of other everyday NHL players for Toronto.
According to Mark Masters of TSN, these were the practice lines earlier this morning:
It looks like Samsonov will make his preseason debut after not playing in the first three games.
Giordano, Liljegren and Timmins will be the NHL defensemen playing tonight’s game and will be playing top-four minutes again.
The forward lines are as advertised. Bertuzzi remains on the first line alongside Holmberg and Gregor as placeholders for Matthews and Marner.
The second line of Knies-Minten-Lafferty is a line that featured John Tavares in practice, but Minten will be in his place for tonight.
The two bottom lines are Toronto’s fourth line and a Marlie line. However, I’m surprised Nick Robertson is playing on the third line alongside Kampf and Reaves instead of Gregor. I thought Robertson would get a look in the top six, most likely on a line with Bertuzzi and Holmberg.

Opponents lineup:

The Canadiens haven’t released a full lineup for tonight’s game against the Maple Leafs, however, they held an optional morning skate for players who were suiting up tonight and here is who attended:
Forwards: Owen Beck, Jan Mysak, Tanner Pearson, Joshua Roy, Mitchell Stephens, Jesse Ylonen, John Parker-Jones
Defensemen: Justin Barron, Nicolas Beaudin, Jordan Harris, Gustav Lindstrom, Logan Mailloux, Arber Xhekaj
Goalies: Strauss Mann, Cayden Primeau

Players to watch:

Ilya Samsonov is a player to watch in tonight’s game, whether he plays the entire 60 minutes, only plays half of the game or even just a period. We haven’t seen Samsonov play goal since the playoffs.
Another player to keep an eye on is Conor Timmins. After his four-point night against the Sabres, Timmins is making a case to be in the Maple Leafs top-six come opening night. I don’t know if he’ll have the same offensive outburst in tonight’s game, but he’s been a player who has played very well so far through training camp.
That second line of Knies-Minten-Lafferty is also quite intriguing, to be honest. Although it doesn’t feature Tavares in the middle, Minten has also played pretty well in the games he’s suited up for. He won’t make the Maple Leafs roster, but it’s encouraging to watch him continue develop after being drafted by the team 38th overall in the 2022 NHL draft.
You can catch the game tonight at 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT on TSN4.

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