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Avalanche at Maple Leafs Preview and Game Chat: goalie shuffle underway

Nathan MacKinnon comes back from injury tonight.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 27: Nazem Kadri #43 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts after scoring a first period goal against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 27, 2019 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Colorado Avalanche @ Toronto Maple Leafs: Game #24

7:00 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena
TV/Streaming: Sportsnet Ontario
Opponent’s Site: Mile High Hockey

The Toronto Maple Leafs return home after a perfect California road trip. They went 3/3, outscoring their opponents 15-4, averaging five goals a game and giving up only one or two each night. They now return home to face the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners in a three-way tie for first place in the league.

On the Leafs’ side, we’ll start with Ondřej Kaše. The Leafs winger will miss another game due to his upper body injury, with Joey Anderson confirmed to take his spot on the third line right wing. He will skate with David Kämpf and Nick Ritchie. In order to make this happen, Anderson was called up from the Marlies, with Kirill Semyonov going back the other way ahead of his contract termination.

The Leafs defense will remain unchanged with Travis Dermott on the third pair and Timothy Liljegren out.

The goalies are going through some changes right now. Backup goalie Joseph Woll didn’t take part in the full practice as he had to share the backup net with Petr Mrázek, who is working his way back to game action. Mrázek will be getting a conditioning stint in the AHL soon, but one of the weekend games there has been postponed. The Leafs have a back-to-back this weekend in Minnesota (Sat) and Winnipeg (Sun), so expect Woll to get one of those games and a decision on Mrázek’s health to come next week.

Or maybe not?

When we know what that means, we’ll tell you.

Forwards

Michael Bunting - Auston Matthews - Mitchell Marner
Alex Kerfoot - John Tavares - William Nylander
Nick Ritchie - David Kämpf - Joey Anderson
Pierre Engvall - Jason Spezza - Wayne Simmonds
Injured: Ondřej Kaše

Defense

Morgan Rielly - TJ Brodie
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Travis Dermott
Scratched: Timothy Liljegren

Goalies

Jack Campbell - confirmed starter
Michael Hutchinson
Injured: Joseph Woll

Them

The biggest news out of Colorado is that Nathan MacKinnon is expected to make his return to the lineup after missing eight games with a lower body injury.

While he was out, former Leaf Nazem Kadri racked up 17 points in eight games on the first line, leading the team to a 7-1-0 record. With seven goals and 27 points in 18 games so far this season, Kadri is running at a 1.5 points per game, the highest of his career.

While Kadri’s 5v5 play has been strong (54% shots, 51% xG), a lot of damage has come on the power play. The centre has three goals and 10 points with the man advantage, for the team lead in that category. For context, William Nylander leads the Leafs in power play points with three goals and eight points. Matthews has four goals.

As for the lineup tonight, despite MacKinnon returning from injury, it looks like the Avalanche are going to skate with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Here’s what we have so far, but there’s a chance the seventh defenseman, Kurtis MacDermid, will sit if Valeri Nichushkin or Andre Burakovsky can play.