Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. EST  |  TV: TSN4  |  Radio: TSN1050  |  Location: Montreal, QC

Two full(ish) lineups will go head to head tonight at the Bell Centre with one week to go before the real games kick off.

Zach Hyman will remain sidelined with a hip pointer and William Nylander is still in Sweden, but otherwise, the Leafs‘ lineup will be pretty close to the full group tonight in Montreal. That includes two-thirds of each of their top-nine forward lines (the Marleau-Matthews, Tavares-Marner, Kadri-Brown duos), their full fourth line (Johnsson – Lindholm – Kapanen), and potentially their full opening-night top six on defense.

Travis Dermott — not in the lineup tonight — has been cleared to play after his shoulder injury. The 22-year-old will have a game this weekend to try to confirm his opening night spot, but Calle Rosen’s strong play through preseason has made this a contest for October 3rd.

It’s not totally outside the realm of possibility at this point that Dermott could be sent down to start the year as a kick in the butt with the goal of making him that much hungrier, a la Kasperi Kapanen in years past. Dermott is in a spot where Babcock clearly wasn’t overly impressed with how he looked to start camp; he then picked up an injury that opened the door for the others competing for spots, including the 24-year-old Calle Rosen, who may or may not want to stick around for another year in Toronto just to play on the Marlies. Dermott is also still waiver exempt.

While Kapanen and Johnsson haven’t exactly earned recent plaudits from Babcock, either, and both are considered locks for opening night anyway, Kapanen has already been through that process and Johnsson is no longer waiver exempt.  Dermott still has time to grab his opening night spot, but the battle for the bottom-pair left defense spot has gotten a little more interesting than we may have initially anticipated.

The Canadiens are also dressing something fairly close to their full lineup, although they’re without Karl Alzner, Joel Armia and Charles Hudon (all are sitting tonight), Max Domi (suspension), and Shea Weber (out until December at the earliest).

This is the first game of preseason in which Mike Babcock will want to see structure starting to come into place and details being executed properly. We will also get a first look at the full top power-play unit consisting of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Nazem Kadri, and Morgan Rielly. Sparks could fly immediately, knowing the immense potential of this unit, but there may also be a bit of a feeling-out process that has to take place here — which is what these games are about.

Game Day Quotes

Babcock on Dermott’s status:

I think he’s been cleared to play — him and Goat. Now they’ve just got to get back in the lineup.

Babcock on Trevor Moore and his constructive “criticism” of him:

I haven’t been critical once. I just tell the truth every day. That way, I always tell people this, I don’t read anybody’s mind. I want them to tell me what they’re thinking and then I can please them. I think Mooresy has a chance to play in the NHL. I think he has a tendency to get in his own way and not have as much confidence as he should have. That is what I have tried to talk to him about as much as possible. He is going to get a good opportunity here tonight.

I think Timashov is right there. I think Timashov has been fantastic. So, it was between those two for this opportunity tonight. That is what they’re supposed to do. That’s why you’re out on the ice with them — so you can see it and feel it. You can see if they’re getting close to being ready.

Babcock on how close Moore is now to being an NHL player:

I don’t know that. What I am going to do is watch. The other thing about it is that already, guys that were good in camp aren’t good anymore. As soon as the speed picks up and you get them on with our guys, right away, you see the things you saw before. Now, the pace in October is not like the pace in November or the pace in February and the playoff pace. We’re trying to play in the playoffs, so we need playoff pace.

John Tavares on taking part in his first Leafs vs. Habs game:

This rivalry is one of the oldest in our league and in our game. There is a lot of history to it and a lot of battles for a very, very long time. Obviously, two great franchises and two great fan bases. It’s fun to be a part of it now. Even though it’s a preseason game, I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere. I’m just going to try to enjoy it and focus on what you’ve got to do on the ice.

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines


#12 Patrick Marleau – #34 Auston Matthews – #63 Tyler Ennis
#42 Trevor Moore – #91 John Tavares – #16 Mitch Marner
#32 Josh Leivo – #43 Nazem Kadri – #28 Connor Brown
#18 Andreas Johnsson – #26 Par Lindholm – #24 Kasperi Kapanen


#44 Morgan Rielly – #2 Ron Hainsey
#51 Jake Gardiner – #22 Nikita Zaitsev
#48 Calle Rosen – #92 Igor Ozhighanov


#31 Frederik Andersen
#30 Calvin Pickard

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lines


#92 Jonathan Drouin – #15 Jesperi Kotkaniemi – #62 Arturri Lehkoenn
#90 Tomas Tatar – #24 Phillip Danault – #11 Brendan Gallagher
#47 Kenny Agostino – #14 Tomas Plekanec – #41 Paul Byron
#43 Michael Chaput – #25 Jacob De La Rose – #38 Nikita Scherbak


#28 Mike Reilly – #26 Jeff Petry
#8 Jordie Benn – #21 David Schlemko
#53 Victor Mete – #58 Noah Juulsen

#31 Carey Price
#39 Charlie Lindgren