Connor Dewar and Joel Edmundson make their Maple Leafs debuts at the Bell Centre tonight on HNIC (7:00 p.m. EST, Sportsnet/CBC).

With the additions of Dewar and a day-to-day injury to Mitch Marner, the entire forward group is in line for a shakeup tonight.

“All of a sudden, it is not as attractive to have Matthews, Domi, and Tavares all down the middle because you have less offensive depth on the wing,” said Sheldon Keefe.

William Nylander will join Auston Matthews and Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi will shift to John Tavares’ wing, David Kampf will center Bobby McMann and Matthew Knies, and Dewar will step in at the center position between former Minnesota linemate Ryan Reaves and Pontus Holmberg.

On the backend, two of the three pairings will remain in place from the loss to Boston on Thursday when Sheldon Keefe and Mike Van Ryn set their defense up in anticipation of Edmundson’s debut by pairing Timothy Liljegren with Simon Benoit. It’s a rough go for Benoit, who will miss a rivalry game in his home province, but the writing was on the wall since Thursday’s trade.

These two teams haven’t played each other since the opening day of the season — a wild 6-5 shootout win for Toronto — but the trajectory of their respective seasons since then has been about as expected both ways, with the Habs in the lottery mix and the Leafs sitting in third place in the division. That said, the Leafs will need to be prepared for the fact that the two games at the Bell Centre tonight and on April 6 are the Canadiens’ Stanley Cup playoffs this season. Coming into tonight, the home team has won 12 straight regular-season games in the Leafs vs. Habs rivalry.

Game Day Quotes

Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis on coaching new Leaf Joel Edmundson in Montreal:

Big presence on the ice and in the dressing room… He plays tough. He is tough to play against, especially in the corners. He can also make a good first pass and keep the offense going. He has more offense than people give him credit for probably because his biggest asset is his size and aggressiveness, but he is a pretty smart player in possession.

St. Louis on the goals of his team down the final stretch of the regular season:

Just keep growing. Keep finding that consistency of level of play.

We are coming off of a really good road trip. I thought we went toe-to-toe for 50 minutes with Carolina. We ran into penalties midway through the third, which made it harder to get back in the game.

Our team game is solid. We just have to keep the consistency down the stretch and keep winning games.

Connor Dewar on joining the Maple Leafs:

I am really excited. It is a great hockey market. Growing up in Canada, you want to play in a Canadian market. It’s special. It’s pretty cool.

Sheldon Keefe on the addition of Dewar to the lineup:

I have to get to know him better as we get him here, but from what I have seen and what I have known of him…

First, he is going to really help our penalty kill. I think he is a smart player with lots of detail in his game and awareness defensively. There is stability that way, I think. He has the flexibility to play both center and wing. We like that about him.

It increases the depth and it’s a guy who can help us on the defensive side, and yet, he probably doesn’t get enough love for the fact that he has 10 goals already playing on the fourth line in Minnesota. There is some upside offensively at the same time.

Keefe on inserting Joel Edmundson into the lineup and sitting Simon Benoit:

Just looking at it, I feel like we need Liljegren’s right shot. We also want to put Liljegren with Edmundson to see how it can come together for us. This is an important time in Liljegren’s development for us to settle in. We are through the trade deadline. We know what our group looks like. We will give Lily a chance to grow within the role and with Edmundson.

We like how the other pairs are set up. That is really it. Quite frankly, it kills me to have to sit Benoit tonight, especially in this building, but I didn’t make the schedule and it is what is necessary for our team tonight.

Head-to-Head Stats: Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens

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

Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lines

#59 Tyler Bertuzzi – #34 Auston Matthews – #88 William Nylander
#11 Max Domi – #91 John Tavares – #19 Calle Jarnkrok
#23 Matthew Knies – #64 David Kampf – #74 Bobby McMann
#29 Pontus Holmberg – #24 Connor Dewar – #75 Ryan Reaves

#44 Morgan Rielly – #46 Ilya Lyubushkin
#78 TJ Brodie – #22 Jake McCabe
#20 Joel Edmundson – #37 Timothy Liljegren

Starter: #35 Ilya Samsonov
#60 Joseph Woll

Extras: Simon Benoit, Noah Gregor, Martin Jones, Mark Giordano
Injured/Out: Conor Timmins, Mitch Marner

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lines

#22 Cole Caufield – #14 Nick Suzuki – #20 Juraj Slafkovksy
#89 Joshua Roy – #15 Alex Newhook – #40 Joel Armia
#11 Brendan Gallagher – #71 Jake Evans – #17 Josh Anderson
#55 Michael Pezzetta – #70 Tanner Pearson – #49 Rafael Harvey-Pinard

#8 Michael Matheson – #21 Kaiden Guhle
#72 Arber Xekaj – #58 David Savard
#47 Jayden Struble – #54 Jordan Harris

Starter: #35 Samuel Montembault
#30 Cayden Primeau

Injured: Christian Dvora, Colin White, Kirby Dach