Yesterday’s 2nd line experiment from Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock yielded positive results. After steadfastly refusing to separate center Nazem Kadri and winger Leo Komarov for over a month, Babcock finally broke up the duo and, low and behold, Kadri scores his first goal in 17 games and the Leafs win. Go figure.
Kadri centered a line between wingers Patrick Marleau and Mitch Marner, while Komarov toiled on the fourth line with regular healthy scratch Dominic Moore and rookie Kasperi Kapanen. Following the game it was apparent that Kadri was relieved to finally hit the score sheet.
So what does Babcock have in store tonight as the Leafs prepare to take on the Dallas Stars in their final test before the NHL’s annual All-Star break? Will he keep the Kadri/Komarov pair apart? Or will he fall back on his old ways?
Well, according to DailyFaceoff.com, aside from a goaltending change no lineup changes are expected from the Leafs tonight in Dallas. This means that Frederik Andersen will get the night off, while Curtis McElhinney gets the start.
Here’s how the forward lines shake down:
Looks like Matt Martin will watch the game from Popcorn Row once again.
On defence, rookie blue liner Travis Dermott continues to get big minutes in the absence of Morgan Rielly. AHL call-up Rinat Valiev, a 22-year-old Russian defenceman, is expected to watch the game from the press box again.
Puck drop is at 8:30 ET! Go, Leafs, go!