Leafs Game Preview: Forward Lines Shakeup Against Panthers

The Toronto Maple Leafs will look to bounce back as they face off against the team that took them out of the Playoffs last year, the Florida Panthers. After a poor effort on Monday, the Leafs need to start on time. Samsonov gets his third start of the season and will be looking to put up some improved numbers after letting in nine goals in his first two starts combined. The Leafs also made some line changes, which I highlight below.

Leafs Projected Lineup

Three Things to Look Out For

Knies

Matthew Knies has been a pleasant surprise to many since he joined the Leafs near the end of the 2022-2023 season. Knies works hard on the ice and often makes good things happen. This has resulted in him getting a shot at more ice time, in the top six. He will be on a line with Tavares and Nylander tonight and will look to add to the line’s offensive output while hopefully still contributing defensively as well. Keep an eye on Knies as he looks to lock up a spot in the top-six.

Bertuzzi

Tyler Bertuzzi has been just okay so far since joining the Leafs. Bertuzzi is a very skilled player with great playmaking abilities but has to adjust to the Leafs system and new linemates as well. I would like to see some chemistry built between him, Mathews, and Marner tonight. Bertuzzi has the potential to be a difference-maker on this team and will look to ramp up after a relatively slow start to the season.

Liljegren

This year is an important one for defender Timothy Liljegren. Not only is it a contract year for him, but he is also looking to show his potential to this Leafs team. Liljegren shows flashes of skill and good decision-making but hasn’t always been consistent on the Leafs blueline. He needs to prove this year that he can develop into a top-4 defender or, at minimum, an everyday NHL player. Keep an eye on Liljegren tonight as he looks to show poise and skill from the back end.

Tonight’s game starts at 7:00 PM EST on TSN!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me on Twitter @ITRnathanbondy.

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