The Maple Leafs are looking to keep the momentum of a couple of lopsided wins over Chicago and Montreal rolling when they visit the Windy City for a rematch against the Blackhawks (6:00 p.m. EST, Sportsnet Ontario).
The quick and dirty lineup notes: Ilya Samsonov has recovered enough from his illness to start tonight, but Rasmus Sandin picked up a bump in last night’s win and will be replaced on the blue line by Conor Timmins. TJ Brodie will shift to the left side and pair off with Timmins, while Morgan Rielly joins a pairing with Justin Holl. The Leafs‘ lines otherwise remain the same, with ROR in between John Tavares and Mitch Marner and Noel Acciari centering ZAR and Alex Kerfoot.
Head to Head: Blackhawks vs. Maple Leafs
In the season-to-date statistics, the Leafs hold the advantage over the Blackhawks in four out of five offensive categories and five out of five defensive categories.
Game Day Quotes
Sheldon Keefe on Ryan O’Reilly’s ability to help the second power-play unit:
We will see. We have had no practice time or anything like that, but he has been a significant power-play contributor in St. Louis. He was playing more first-unit time in previous years than he was this year.
Everything from having a true faceoff man to a versatile player who is very good down the middle of the ice, whether that is net-front or as the bumper… We will continue to play around with that a little bit and see where the best fit is in terms of where his spot will be and who the best guys are to complement him.
Noel Acciari on his first 24 hours as a Maple Leaf:
It was a bit of a whirlwind, but it was exciting getting here, meeting everyone, and just getting going. It was nice to not take a day and just get right into the mix. It was good to get that one out of the way.
Acciari on the growth he’s seen from the Leafs‘ core over his years playing against them:
I think they have grown each year. I was young when I played these guys early on. I think they have added a lot more to their game. It is two-way.
These guys are top players in the league. They have added aspects that help their game and make them more difficult to play against. Now I can join them and help them in any way I can.
Ryan O’Reilly on the vibe around the team:
The energy in the room and between periods, the way the guys are… With the focus and detail they put in, you can just tell they’re trying to win. For me, it is fun to be a part of it. You can see it. It is a collective group. There is a ton of work that has to happen still, but it is rejuvenating to be around that kind of energy.
O’Reilly on the opportunity to play with John Tavares and Mitch Marner right away:
It is great that I have played with them internationally before to kind of come in and right away start talking about what we want to do. Having that relationship before definitely helped a lot. The players they are… I can see the focus and creativity they both have, and the tenaciousness they have. It is very fun to play with.
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines
#58 Michael Bunting – #34 Auston Matthews – #88 William Nylander
#91 John Tavares – #90 Ryan O’Reilly – #16 Mitch Marner
#47 Pierre Engvall – #64 David Kämpf – #19 Calle Järnkrok
#12 Zach Aston-Reese – #52 Noel Acciari – #15 Alex Kerfoot
#44 Morgan Rielly – #3 Justin Holl
#55 Mark Giordano – #37 Timothy Liljegren
#78 TJ Brodie – #25 Conor Timmins
Starter: #34 Ilya Samsonov
#60 Joseph Woll
Extras: Wayne Simmonds, Jordie Benn
Injured/Out: Rasmus Sandin, Matt Murray, Nick Robertson, Jake Muzzin, Victor Mete
Chicago Blackhawks Projected Lines
#23 Philipp Kurashev – #13 Max Domi – #88 Patrick Kane
#90 Tyler Johnson – #70 Cole Guttman – #11 Taylor Raddysh
#17 Jason Dickinson – #24 Sam Lafferty – #89 Andreas Athanasiou
#14 Boris Katchouk – #52 Reese Johnson – #43 Colin Blackwell
#6 Jake McCabe – #4 Seth Jones
#8 Jack Johnson – #5 Connor Murphy
#82 Caleb Jones – #51 Ian Mitchell
Starter: #30 Jaxson Stauber
#34 Petr Mrazek
Injured/Out: Jonathan Toews, Alex Stalock, Jared Tinordi