LGP 36: Rielly Returns & Hunt’s Debut

The Leafs get a rematch against the Coyotes tonight as they look to continue building momentum into the new year. The Leafs lost their last and only other matchup of the season 4-2 against the Coyotes in October. They will look to have a better effort tonight and not underestimate what the Coyotes can do. Tonight is also a significant game as Rielly returns and Dryden Hunt makes his Leafs debut. This is the Leafs’ first game in the Mullett arena, and it will be interesting to see how the atmosphere will be in the smaller arena.

Leafs Projected Lineup

Forwards

Bunting – Matthews – Nylander

Järnkrok – Tavares – Marner

Kerfoot – Kämpf – Engvall

Aston-Reese – Holmberg – Hunt

Defense

Giordano – Holl

Rielly – Liljegren

Brodie – Timmins

Goalies

Murray

Samsonov

Coyotes Projected Lineup

Forwards

Keller – Boyd – Schmaltz

Carcone – Bjugstad – Crouse

Ritchie – Hayton – Fischer

Brown – McBain – Kassian

Defense

Chychrun – Gostisbehere

Valimaki – Moser

Nemeth – Stecher

Goalies

Vejmelka

Ingram

Three Things to Look Out For

1. Rielly

Tonight Rielly finds himself returning to the lineup for the first time since November 21st. The team has stepped up and performed quite well in his absence, but having him back in the lineup will be a big boost to the team. As much as an injury sucks for anyone, I think his teammates are better players because of increased minutes, and now with Rielly back, the whole core can take another step to the next level. It will be interesting to see if, with Rielly back, they stick to the five-forward power play or not, but for tonight, he will find himself on the second unit. Look for Rielly to take a bit of time to warm back up to game action but to be a key part of the lineup.

2. Anderson

After trading Malgin for Hunt, it was a matter of time before seeing Hunt in the lineup. Hunt seems fired up to be playing, and I’m sure he will try to bring lots of energy to try and gain not only the coach’s love but the fans’ as well. Hunt looks to add physicality as well as solid defensive play as he comes into the lineup tonight with the Leafs.

3. Murray

Murray finds himself back between the pipes tonight as the Leafs look to secure a win against the Coyotes. Murray’s game tonight is important, as he may get some runway with the net with a good game, as Samsonov has had a few less impressive games lately. Murray is a calm presence in the Leafs net and will be looking to get right back into the rhythm of things after not playing in just over a week.

Tonight’s game starts at 9:00 pm EST and can be watched on Sportsnet!

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

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