A depleted Toronto team will take to the ice in Montreal tonight hoping to bounce back from an ugly outing against the Bruins. Â While Clarke MacArthur will be drawing back into the lineup, the Leafs forwards that find themselves among the injured include Connolly, Armstrong and most recently Tyler Bozak. Â Bozak took a shot off the foot late in the Boston game, and although he maintains that he’ll be a game-time decision, early reports suggest that Matthew Lombardi will be taking his spot on the top line. Â James Reimer will also draw back in against a team that he shutout just a few weeks ago. Â Finally, Mike Komisarek will return to man the blueline against his former club, as Toronto’s plethora of capable defenders represent a sharp contrast to the dwindling depth at forward.
The Leafs will be matched up against a Canadiens squad that has yet to find their legs this season. Â Montreal’s lackluster group of forwards have lived up to that name so far, and combined with a slower start from Carey Price, it has spelled a 1-4-1 record through six outings for les habitants. Â The lone exception has been Max Pacioretty, who has rebounded strongly from last year’s Chara incident. Â The former first rounder is both an offensive and physical presence that Toronto’s coaching staff has hopefully made a note of. Â Playing in front of a raucous home crowd on a Saturday night, the Canadiens will feed off of the energy from their fans. Â As such, it will behoove the Leafs to mute the excitement of Pacioretty’s style of play, as they bring a fast and hard-hitting game of their own to the Bell Centre.
Although he’s been injured for most of the past few seasons, Matthew Lombardi has put up four points in the four games he’s played against Montreal in recent history. Â The speedy forward will have an opportunity to capitalize on the scorching play of Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. Â Both of his linemates are in a groove right now, and thus it will be up to Lombardi to make the most of his time there as Toronto’s other centers fight injuries. Â Lombardi may find himself back on the third line in short order, but that in and of itself is a pleasing testament to the versatility he brings to this team.
MacArthur-Grabovski-Kulemin Lupul-Lombardi-Kessel Kadri-Steckel-Frattin Brown-Dupuis-Rosehill Gunnarsson-Phaneuf Gardiner-Schenn Liles-Komisarek Reimer
Cammalleri-Plekanec-Gionta Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole Moen-Eller-Kostitsyn Darche-Engqvist-Palushaj Gill-Subban Weber-Emelin Diaz-Gorges Price