The lineup blender is officially out for Sheldon Keefe and the Toronto Maple Leafs as the series shifts to Tampa Bay. Out of the lineup are Wayne Simmonds and Timothy Liljegren. In comes Jason Spezza and Justin Holl.
#Leafs lines during morning skate May 6/22
Bunting-Matthews-Marner Nylander-Tavares-Anderson*Mikheyev-Kampf-KerfootEngvall-Blackwell-SpezzaExtra: Clifford, *Filling in for Kase
— David Alter (@dalter) May 6, 2022
While the moves are polarizing given the players coming out versus the players coming into the lineup, the numbers through two games indicate this is the right decision from Toronto to shake things up, go for a different look, and try to fix some of the things that went wrong in Game 2.
Beginning at forward, the top line of Michael Bunting, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner is the only line that remains from Game 2 to no surprise. That trio was dynamite all season long and splitting them up, especially after a strong Game 2, would be shortsighted. Keep an eye on the matchups they face going to Tampa Bay, though, as they saw much more time against Victor Hedman and Erik Cernak in Game 2. Keefe will be looking to get them as many minutes against the other two pairs as possible.
That brings us to the first big change as William Nylander and John Tavares are re-united on the second line. While splitting the two ideally meant a deeper lineup offensively, that wasn’t quite translating to results through two games of the series. Tavares had an especially quiet Game 2 at 5v5, so getting the two back together in an effort to create more offence at 5v5 makes a lot of sense.
It appears Ondrej Kase will join them on the second line, a trio that we didn’t …
Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation