The Leafs are back tonight with another Next Gen game as they take on the Senators while wearing their Flipside jerseys. Unfortunately, they will be without star forward Matthews tonight and for at least the next three weeks as he recovers from a knee sprain suffered last game. This will give the bottom six forwards more opportunities and lead to more competition, as when Matthews returns, there will be one less depth spot in the lineup.
Leafs Projected Lineup
Senators Projected Lineup
Tkachuk – Stutzle – Joseph
Debrincat – Greig – Giroux
Brassard – Pinto – Batherson
Kelly – Gambrell – Watson
Chabot – Holden
Sanderson – Hamonic
Brannstrom – Zaitsev
Three Things to Look Out For
Holmberg played multiple preseason games with Nylander and now finds himself reunited with Willy on the second line, largely due to the Matthews injury. Holmberg has been a pleasant surprise for many, and this increased opportunity has the potential to boost his confidence and development. Keep an eye on the second line tonight, otherwise known as the Swede line, as they look to create offense for the Leafs while not giving up too much defensively.
Murray has been on the bench since being pulled in his last start. Samsonov has had quite stellar play against some of the top goalies in the league, but Murray finds himself with a start tonight to try and earn some time in the net back. He will also be playing against his former team, a team that gave up on him, paying to get rid of him. Murray will be looking to put up a solid outing tonight to lead the team to a win and help earn more time in the net.
Aston-Reese found himself a scratch last game but finds himself back in the lineup with Matthews being out. He has been solid defensively but really hasn’t contributed offensively or even physically as much as would have been hoped. Hopefully, a game in the press box motivates him to prove himself, as Marlies players in McMann and Anderson are looking to win his spot. It will be interesting to see how the increased opportunity for the depth players due to Matthews’s injury sparks further competition in the lineup.
Tonight’s game against the Senators begins at 7:00 PM EST and can be watched on Sportsnet!
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