The Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking to end their first three-game losing streak of the season tonight when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second time in less than a week. The Penguins defeated the Leafs 5-4 in a shootout at the Air Canada Centre last Saturday night.
Head coach Randy Carlyle is making some changes to his line-up in anticipation for tonight’s contest. Carlyle confirmed this morning that after being a healthy scratch for 12 consecutive games, John-Michael Liles will check back in against Pittsburgh. No word yet on what defenseman he will replace, but Mark Masters of TSN reported that Mike Kostka was on the ice late during the morning skate and it would appear he is the odd man out.
The move makes sense as the Leafs have really struggled defensively over the last couple of weeks and have conceded 29 goals in their past seven games. Kostka’s lack of speed was exploited against the Winnipeg Jets and as I have been mentioned before, he is being overused for a player with his inexperience. Letting Liles come in for a change of pace couldn’t hurt.
Ben Scrivens will likely start in goal tonight after last starting in a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins one week ago. This move is a little more puzzling because although James Reimer was pulled against the Jets on Tuesday, he was hung out to dry on a few of the goals. With that being said though, Carlyle has stated he will go with the hot hand when it comes to his goaltenders, and the team has lost Reimer’s last two starts.