The long Leafs Nation nightmare is over. Auston Matthews is going to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup after missing the first three games of the season while recovering from wrist surgery.
The Toronto Maple Leafs (2-1) will host the New York Rangers (1-1-1) Monday.
Matthews’ return to action does shuffle the Maple Leafs lines but it gets them closer to what expectations were for this team with a fully healthy roster. This is shuffling in the right direction.
On the blueline, it appears that Justin Holl’s absence from the lineup will last just one game. Since it looks like Holl is returning to the lineup, Timothy Liljegren will return to the press box.
Jack Campbell is expected to get the start in goal for Toronto. Campbell has stopped 61 of 63 shots so far this season, good for a .968 save percentage. Michael Hutchinson has been recalled on an emergency basis from the American Hockey League to serve as Campbell’s backup.
The Maple Leafs last played Saturday, when they won 3-1 at home against the Ottawa Senators.
Toronto Maple Leafs expected lineup for the fourth game of the season:
Ritchie – Matthews – Marner
Bunting – Tavares – Nylander
Kerfoot – Kampf – Kase
Spezza – Engvall – Simmonds
Rielly – Brodie
Muzzin – Holl
Sandin – Dermott
The New York Rangers come into Toronto dealing with some injuries but also coming off their first win of the season, Saturday night in Montreal.
Centre Ryan Strome and right winger Kaapo Kakko are both out of the lineup for the Blueshirts which effectively leaves Artemi Panarin with a makeshift line. Filip Chytil steps up at centre with Barclay Goodrow on the right side.
The Rangers have recalled Morgan Barron and Greg McKegg from the American Hockey League to bolster their forward depth.
Defensively, the Blueshirts are led by Adam Fox, the reigning Norris Trophy winner. Fox has three points (1 G, 2 A) in three games. The Rangers are controlling better than 60% of shot attempts and expected goals with him on the ice during 5-on-5 play through the first three games.
Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant is not announcing his starting goaltender but the sensible play would seem to be Igor Shesterkin, who has stopped 54 of 58 shots in two games for a .931 save percentage.
Here is the Rangers’ expected lineup for Monday’s game:
Lafreniere – Zibanejad – Kreider
Panarin – Chytil – Goodrow
Blais – Rooney – Gauthier
Hunt – Barron – McKegg – Reaves
Lindgren – Fox
Miller – Trouba
Nemeth – Lundqvist
Watch on Sportsnet and listen on TSN1050 in Toronto.
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