Photo credit: NHL
Leafs shuffle lines in a big way at practice
BY RYAN SMITHERAM MARCH 22, 2023 (1:33 PM)
Ahead of their meeting with the Panthers in Florida tomorrow, Keefe shuffled the deck and reunited Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on the top line, with Calle Jarnkrok flanking on the left. He also placed Michael Bunting alongside John Tavares and William Nylander. While those changes are significant, the most surprising change may have been Keefe breaking up his fourth line that was Noel Acciari, Zach Aston-Reese and David Kampf. Acciari was moved to the third line between Sam Lafferty and Alexander Kerfoot while Kampf and Aston-Reese remained on the fourth line with Wayne Simmonds. Those changes likely mean that Bobby McMann will be scratch for tomorrow's game.
On the blueline, Sheldon Keefe paired Luke Schenn and Morgan Rielly together. T.J. Brodie and Jake McCabe form the Leafs' new shutdown pairing while Mark Giordano and Justin Holl were reunited. Gio and Holl held the Leafs together playing top pairing minutes early in the seasom when the Buds had a banged up D corps. Depending what lineup Keefe chooses to deploy tomorrow, 12/6 or 11/7, it means that one or both of Erik Gustafson and Timothy Liljegren could find themselves in the press box. If the Leafs go 11/7 again, Simmonds is likely the forward who sits.
With Ilya Samsonov heading home to be with his wife who is about to give birth to their first child, Matt Murray and Joseph Woll will be the goalies for the remaining three games of the roadtrip.