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Lupul and Booth set to play in Pittsburgh

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs

(PITTSBURGH) -- The Leafs will see many returns tonight when they take on the Penguins tonight.

David Booth will make his long awaited Leafs debut. The forward was sidelined back in September with a broken foot, missing the first 21 games of the regular season.

“It was back in July when I made the commitment to come here. Now you’re seeing that finally come to be and finally be able to play,” Booth said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “It’s exciting. These games are always special and on a fathers’ trip against Pittsburgh, one of the top teams in the league.”

A majority of Leafs fathers have made their way to Pittsburgh for what is an annual tradition.

Booth is slated to play on the wing of a fourth line alongside Joffrey Lupul, who has missed 12 games with a broken hand.

“Usually the first game you have a lot of adrenaline” said Lupul on returning after a short hiatus. “It was a hand injury so I was able to skate the whole time. I don’t think legs-wise there will be anything to worry about. We’ll see the first time a couple of times when I go into the boards and test the hand,that should be good to get out of the way”

The return of Lupul and the addition of Booth will bring a potency of depth to the Leafs. Both are slated to play alongside Trevor Smith. The wingers add a combined total of 1052 games that line, should they play together.

Defenceman Korbinian Holzer will also make his season debut. He slots in after Roman Polak injured his knee in the Leafs 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. It will be a tough task for Holzer to fend off Pittsburgh. He’s taken the words of his coach to make the appropriate adjustments for tonight.

“He has a tendency of backing off. If you give time and space to people in the NHL, they’re going to burn you” said Leafs coach Randy Carlyle. “We’re going to play a player tonight in Sidney Crosby who loves when you give him time and space. (Evgeni) Malkin loves when you give him time and space. (Chris) Kunitz, time and space. They have a very mobile back end and you’ve got to try and limit space for their group.”

Jonathan Bernier gets the nod in goal for Toronto. He has yet to win a game against Pittsburgh in his career (0-3-1).

Marc-Andre Fleury will be in goal for Pittsburgh, who will be wearing their throwback ‘Pittsburgh’ Gold trim jerseys. Fleury will be sporting yellow/gold goalie equipment for the first time since 2007. Fleury hasn’t enjoyed much success against Toronto. His save percentage against the Leafs (.892) is his second worst among performances against teams. Fluery’s worst save percentage against any team is Minnesota at .853

Projected Leafs lines

JVR-Bozak-Kessel

Komarov-Kadri-Santorelli

Winnik-Holland-Clarkson

Booth-Smith-Lupul

Defence

Phaneuf-Franson

Gardiner-Robidas

Rielly-Holzer

Goalies

Bernier

Reimer

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