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Friday, January 18, 2013

Toronto Maple Leafs 2013 opening lineup

Komarove provides grit to Kadri line

New Leafs coach Carlyle is more of a Big Nine and Checking Line kinda guy, relative to Wilson's Top Six / Bottom Six approach. Here are the Big Nine for tomorrow night's opener against Habs:

Lupul - Bozak - Kessel

MacArthur - Grabovski - Kulemin

van Riemsdyk - Kadri - Komarov

The fourth line has defensive specialist McClement between bangers Brown and Orr, though look for David Steckel to replace Orr for faceoffs in the defensive zone, as that way either McClement or Steckel can take the draw and there'll be no trouble if one gets booted from the circle.

Defence will miss Jake Gardiner

On defence, Kostka may be kept in the bigs until Jake Gardiner heals, though Reilly is almost certain to be returned to juniors. Possible pairings:

Phaneuf - Gunnarsson
Liles - Franson
Frazer - Holzer

Spares: Komisarek and/or Kostka

Although Scrivens outplayed Reimer early in camp, Carlyle has not yet revealed who will start Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada. The decision may have already been made and he doesn't want to tip off the Canadiens coaching staff, or James Reimer may have been showing flashes of his form.

Look for this game to be a tight one, likely to be decided in overtime.

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