Matthew Knies promoted to the top line in Toronto
Photo credit: NHL

Sheldon Keefe surprises many with new lines and potential scratches at practice

Published March 22, 2024 at 1:15 PM
BY RYAN SMITHERAM

The Toronto Maple Leafs were absent from the arena yesterday as they were given the day off following a 7-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. It was a bit of an odd game in which we saw Tyler Bertuzzi not play for the first seven and a half minutes due to an illness and T.J. Brodie out of the lineup as a healthy scratch. There were also some great moments in the big win, including Max Domi's 4-assist outing and Auston Matthews' dominant 5-point game.

Returning to practice today, Bertuzzi was not at practice as he is still dealing with his illness, which meant head coach Sheldon Keefe had to shuffle his forward lines. In light of the health of Bertuzzi, these lines could look completely different at puck drop tomorrow night, but as of now, it appears that Matthew Knies will once again skate on the Leafs' top line with Auston Matthews and Max Domi.

Bobby McMann has played extremely well of late and will join captain John Tavares and Leafs leading point-getter William Nylander on the 2nd line, while David Kampf centered Noah Gregor and Connor Dewar. The fourth line saw Nick Robertson demoted and the return of Ryan Reaves, who missed Wednesday's game and most of Tuesday's game following his fight with Philadelphia Flyers forward Nick Deslauriers. Reaves and Robertson were centered by Pontus Holmberg.

On the back end, Keefe tinkered with his defensive pairings yet again as he had Morgan Rielly and Jake McCabe paired together while Simon Benoit skated next to Conor Timmins. The third pairing remained Joel Edmundson and Timothy Liljegren, which means that T.J. Brodie is likely to be scratched again for tomorrow's game, as will Ilya Lyubushkin, who missed the previous two games due to illness.


With questions surrounding Bertuzzi's health as well as more than enough healthy defensemen, it will be an interesting 24 hours to see if Keefe decides to make any further changes before puck drop against the Oilers on Saturday.

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Sheldon Keefe surprises many with new lines and potential scratches at practice

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