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Leafs make some major changes on the blueline ahead of tilt with Sabres


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Ryan Smitheram
December 21, 2023  (1:27 PM)
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Photo credit: NHL

The Toronto Maple Leafs made the quick trip down the QEW to Buffalo yesterday and took to the ice for a full practice today ahead of tonight's game against the Buffalo Sabres. The Leafs are coming off of a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers Tuesday evening on a night where they honoured John Tavares for reaching 1000 points.

Ahead of tonight's game, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe has shuffled up his defensive pairings in a major way at practice. Recently returned Timothy Liljegren was skating on the top pair with Morgan Rielly while T.J. Brodie was bumped down to the second pair with Jake McCabe. Not only was Brodie moved to the second pair, he was playing on the left side, as opposed to his usual spot on the right side of the ice. The third pairing saw Simon Benoit skating alongside Conor Timmins, which means that William Lagesson is going to be a healthy scratch tonight.
Lagesson skated next to Mark Giordano, who joined the Leafs for the first time since breaking a finger against Florida at the end of November, and appears to be inching closer to a return - though not before the Christmas break, according to Sheldon Keefe.
Up front, the forward lines remained intact as Auston Matthews skated between Matthew Knies and William Nylander, John Tavares was flanked by Tyler Bertuzzi and Mitch Marner, Nick Robertson and Calle Jarnkrok skated alongside Max Domi, and David Kampf was joined by Noah Gregor and Bobby McMann. Recent roster recall Pontus Holmberg found himself as the 13th forward again. Ryan Reaves remains out with a lower-body injury.
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21 DECEMBRE   |   784 ANSWERS
Leafs make some major changes on the blueline ahead of tilt with Sabres

Will the Sabres sneak into the playoffs this season?

Yes, in a wild card spot21126.9 %
Yes, in a top 3 spot in the Atlantic354.5 %
No, they'll miss the playoffs53868.6 %
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