Seeking their eighth consecutive victory, the Maple Leafs will need to be prepared for a hungry and proud Vegas team in the rematch tonight at Scotiabank Arena (7:00 p.m. EST, TSN4).

The Golden Knights followed up last week’s 7-3 drubbing at the hands of the Leafs with a 4-3 shootout loss to Ottawa on Saturday night while the Leafs were gutting out a win in Colorado against an Avalanche team that controlled large portions of the game.

The Golden Knights came out hungry and largely dominated the first 25 minutes against Ottawa while taking a 2-0 lead, but Vegas gave up three unanswered in the second and third periods and needed a goal with 1:15 remaining in regulation just to grab a point.

The Golden Knights will ice the same group of skaters from last week’s loss to Toronto with some shuffling amongst their forward lines, while the Leafs will dress the same forward lines but have been forced to rejig their defense pairings due to Timothy Liljegren’s short-term injury absence.

That means six lefties will dress for the Leafs tonight, and based on Monday’s practice lines, Simon Benoit and Mark Giordano could shift to the right side, although it remains to be seen how the D pairs are configured in line rushes in warmups (the morning skate was optional). It may well have been about getting those defensemen reps on the right in practice more than preparation for this game. Rielly – Brodie / Benoit – McCabe / Giordano – Lagesson seems like the more probable setup at game time tonight, reuniting two familiar pairings and placing three defensemen on the right who have had plenty of recent game reps on that side of the ice. But we won’t know until warmups.

Six left-shot D could mean a few extra challenges moving the puck up the ice against the Vegas forecheck and further underscores the importance of committed five-man support in all three zones for the Leafs tonight.

After the Leafs chased Adin Hill from last week’s game, he will get an opportunity to atone for his part in the 4-0 first period in Vegas. Ilya Samsonov will start for the Maple Leafs coming off of one of his best starts of the season in Colorado.

Game Day Quotes

Simon Benoit on what has clicked during the team’s seven-game winning streak:

Sometimes, it just happens, right? There is no explanation. Something clicked. We won’t find a reason. We are just happy that it did. We are going to try to keep it going by focusing on tonight’s game. That’s it.

Benoit on potentially playing with Morgan Rielly:

My game is pretty simple, right? Let him do whatever he wants out there. I just stay back, eh?

Benoit on Sheldon Keefe’s comment that Rielly’s fingerprints are all over the winning streak despite missing five of the games due to suspension:

Mo is a team player, right? We knew he was not happy missing out on those games. Everybody played a little bit for him and made sure we got those points, especially in a tight race here.

For him to be back, it is a good thing. He is a great player and a great teammate to be around. Even though he wasn’t on the ice with us, he was still with us around the team. He is a big impact guy.

Sitting next to him and talking to him, he is a great guy. He is really genuine. He is really calm. He knows what he wants. He plays hard. You just learn from what he does on and off the ice.

Sheldon Keefe on the challenge of a rematch vs. the Cup champs coming off of a road trip:

It is something we have to be aware of. It is something you have to be conscious of. You don’t want to have any letup.

The fact that we are playing the same opponent — and an opponent we have a tremendous amount of respect for — should in and of itself be enough for us to not take a step backward.

Any fatigue that we might be facing coming back from the road trip, to me, is nothing in comparison to playing in the back-to-back as we did when we went into Vegas. It was our best effort of the season when it came to the work rate, our enthusiasm, and the feel of our team. It was a back-to-back situation in the middle of a long road trip.

That level of effort and enthusiasm is going to certainly be required tonight. I would fully expect the game to be entirely different than it was when we were out there. I expect it to be hard, tight, and a grind all the way through. But the effort and enthusiasm that we had is certainly going to be required as the baseline. In fact, we probably need a little bit more than that because we are going to have a better group on the Vegas side.

Bruce Cassidy on the benefits of playing the same team twice in a week:

For a coach, you have less work to do because you just saw them. Your pre-scout is fresh on your mind.

The benefit is that we didn’t play well. Our guys are a proud group and a competitive group. They will want to put their best foot forward.

Cassidy on the blueprint for a better result in the rematch:

You have to check well and stay out of the box. You need timely saves. They are a good offensive team. They are going to get looks. You have to be opportunistic and score some goals. You can’t expect to go out and play a 2-1 game against a really good offensive team. We are going to have to score a little bit as well.

The blueprint is the opposite of how it worked out in Vegas where we were chasing the game from the middle of the first period onward. That part has to be better. I did like our discipline. We didn’t take many penalties.

I thought Matthews had some looks, but he wasn’t the driving force. It was the middle of the lineup that did a lot of damage, and the bottom of their lineup was great. Their fourth line had us hemmed in all night.

Keefe on the challenge of running six left-handed defensemen:

I don’t like it, but just as I have said a number of times this year, whether it is injuries or illness, the players just play. You make the best of the situation. That is really it.

Those are not always ideal circumstances, but there are positives to playing on your offside, too. If you are playing a better team game overall, you can enhance those positives. If you are not playing as good of a team game, you can enhance the negatives and the difficulties that come with it.

We will just focus on our overall team game. We have a number of guys who are at least comfortable on the right side, or if not comfortable, at least they have experience with it and can manage it and press on.

Cassidy on whether the Leafs running six left-handed D might be something his team can take advantage of:

I think so. On D-to-Ds in the neutral zone, if you take a good angle, you can limit where they go with the puck or force a quicker play. When the puck is coming around the boards in the offensive zone, you recognize that you can get on top of them a little quicker, so you have to take it backhand to forehand.

I don’t know how well they pivot on their offside — stuff like that you don’t know until you play against them a few times — but in general, there are a few opportunities to do that. You also have to be mindful of the one-timer on the D-to-D. You might have to cheat out a little higher on it if you want to be in a position to block.

Head-to-Head Stats: Maple Leafs vs. Golden Knights

In the season-to-date statistics, the Leafs hold the advantage over the Golden Knights in five out of five offensive categories, but the Golden Knights hold the advantage in four out of five defensive categories.

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines

#23 Matthew Knies – #34 Auston Matthews – #16 Mitch Marner
#59 Tyler Bertuzzi  – #11 Max Domi – #88 William Nylander
#74 Bobby McMann – #91 John Tavares – #89 Nick Robertson
#29 Pontus Holmberg – #64 David Kampf – #75 Ryan Reaves

#78 TJ Brodie – #44 Morgan Rielly
#2 Simon Benoit – #22 Jake McCabe
#55 Mark Giordano – #85 William Lagesson

Starter: #35 Ilya Samsonov
#31 Martin Jones

Scratched: Noah Gregor, Max Lajoie
Injured/Out: Calle Jarnkrok, Joseph Woll, Conor Timmins, Timothy Liljegren 

Vegas Golden Knights Projected Lines

#19 Brendan Brisson – #71 William Karlsson – #81 Jonathan Marchessault
#49 Ivan Barbashev – #20 Chandler Stephenson – #22 Michael Amadio
#43 Paul Cotter  – #10 Nicolas Roy – #55 Keegan Kolesar
#11 Mason Morelli – #51 Byron Froese – #56 Sheldon Rempal

#23 Alec Martinez – #7 Alex Pietrangelo
#3 Brayden McNab – #27 Shea Theodore
#14 Nicolas Hague – #2 Zach Whitecloud

Starter: #33 Adin Hill
#26 Logan Thompson

Injured/Out: Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, William Carrier, Brett Howden, Ben Hutton, Tobias Bjornfot, Pavel Dorofeyev