The Toronto Maple Leafs are excited to welcome a half capacity crowd to Scotiabank Arena on Thursday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins and their four-game winning streak come to town. The Maple Leafs have been busying with a couple of player transactions which have led to a lineup change for Thursday’s game.
Defenseman Travis Dermott will draw back into the lineup against the Penguins after being a frequent healthy scratch of late. His name has been all over the trade boards recently so you can expect some scouting departments to be in town and keeping a close eye. To make room for Dermott’s return, Timothy Liljegren was sent down to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies and that’s due in large part to the team’s recent waiver claim and reunion with Adam Brooks. Brooks is injured at the moment and in order to save a few more cap dollars Toronto moved Brooks to the IR and sent Liljegren down. Every cent counts when the trade deadline is just over a month away and you have cash issues like the Maple Leafs do.
Sheldon Keefe says he’s going to mix up his D pairs tonight with Liljegren unavailable. Not necessarily Sandin-Dermott.
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) February 17, 2022
Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was pretty open and honest during Thursday’s media availability and had this to say about his lineup:
That’s a Kyle decision. I’m told these are the guys we have available for the game tonight, and it’s a good chance for us to get Travis Dermott in. He’s someone I wanted to get back in anyway. Anytime that’s the case, you hope the guy will step in and recognize an opportunity has come available and take advantage of it. That’s really what you’re looking for. It’s not the first time that he’s had to take some time off and reflect. We expect he’s going to bring some extra energy tonight
The Penguins are streaking and are coming off a very emotional win against the Philadelphia Flyers which included Sidney Crosby’s 500th goal and a Kris Letang overtime winner. The last time they played the Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh blew them out 7-1. We’ll see if the Penguins can avoid a let-down game and keep their win streak alive.