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Maple Leafs Game Day #9: Changes on D, Mrazek returns to host Red Wings

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The Toronto Maple Leafs ended their road trip with an overtime win at Chicago but they are still making changes to the lineup for Saturday’s matchup with the Detroit Red Wings, the first game of a five-game homestand.

On defence, Justin Holl is set to be a healthy scratch and the Maple Leafs have shuffled the pairings on the blueline. T.J. Brodie goes into Holl’s spot, on the right side with Jake Muzzin and Travis Dermott climbs the depth chart to play the right side with the newly extended Morgan Rielly. That leaves a spot on the right side of the third pair for Timothy Liljegren, who has played in two games this season.

Holl and Muzzin have struggled to start the season. Holl’s 50.2 CF% and 49.1 xGF% are the lowest among Maple Leafs defencemen this season. The Maple Leafs have been outscored 10-3 during 5-on-5 play with Holl on the ice. They have been outscored 11-3 with Muzzin on the ice so some kind of shake-up makes sense.

Petr Mrazek will get the start against his first NHL team, the Detroit Red Wings, and is coming back from a lower-body injury he suffered at the end of the second period in his first start for the Maple Leafs.

The forwards are expected to stay with the same lines as last game but there has been significant shuffling in those spots recently already.

Michael Amadio was placed on waivers Friday. He appeared in three games early in the season but did not make an impact while skating in a limited role on the fourth line.

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected lines for Game #9 vs. Detroit:

FORWARD LINES

Bunting – Matthews – Nylander

Kerfoot – Tavares – Marner

Engvall – Kampf – Kase

Ritchie – Spezza – Simmonds

DEFENCE

Rielly – Dermott

Muzzin – Brodie

Sandin – Liljegren

GOALTENDERS

Mrazek

Campbell

 

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings are coming off a 3-2 overtime loss at home against the unbeaten Florida Panthers, another competitive showing from a Red Wings team that has been better than anticipated early in the season. The Red Wings have a 4-2-2 record with a minus-1 goal differential in eight games.

Part of the reason for the optimism in Detroit is that they have two of the top candidates for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. Right winger Lucas Raymond and defenceman Moritz Seider are the top two rookie scorers right now. Raymond has eight points (4 G, 4 A) in eight games while Seider has seven assists in eight games.

The biggest change for the Red Wings lineup is that, with Saturday’s game in Toronto, that means that the Wings do not have Tyler Bertuzzi because he remains unvaccinated. It is a significant loss because Bertuzzi has nine points (6 G, 3 A) and 20 shots on goal in seven games. The Red Wings have recalled prospect Joe Veleno from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. The 2018 first-round pick had three goals in five games.

Detroit has an improved lineup but is missing Bertuzzi and playing the second game of a back-to-back following Friday’s overtime loss at home against Florida.

The expected lineup for the Detroit Red Wings Saturday:

FORWARD LINES

Fabbri – Larkin – Raymond

Erne – Suter – Zadina

Namestnikov – Rasmussen – Gagner

Smith/Veleno – Stephens – Rowney

DEFENCE

DeKeyser – Seider

Leddy – Hronek

Staal – Stecher

GOALTENDERS

Greiss

Nedeljkovic

Watch on Sportsnet/CBC and listen on TSN 1050 in Toronto.

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