TORONTO -- Looking to add a spark to the defense corps, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle will dress offensive-minded John-Michael Liles for the first time since Feb. 16.
Liles, who has been a healthy scratch for the previous 12 games, said he has watched video and heeded advice from Carlyle on what he needs to improve.
"It's a learning process regardless of if you are playing or not playing," Liles said. "By not playing, I was able to maybe scrutinize the film a little bit more than normal. It's just a matter of always trying to reevaluate and always trying to improve."
Heading into his first game in nearly a month and facing one of the best teams in the League, Liles isn't expected to deviate from his normal playing style.
"You try and keep things simple for the most part, but if [an] opportunity presents itself to join the play or to add some offense to our attack, I don't think I'll hesitate," said Liles, who has one goal and five assists in 15 games this season. "First and foremost it's playing defense and making sure we limit opportunities for Pittsburgh."
The Maple Leafs blueliners will have their work cut out for them -- the team has allowed 13 goals in the previous three games and face a Penguins squad that is the highest-scoring team in the League, averaging 3.63 goals per game.
"We've given up too many goals." Carlyle said. "I think the last time Pittsburgh was in here it was a 4-4 tie [before the shootout]. You score four goals, you should win."
Joffrey Lupul, who was on the ice Thursday morning but was ruled out by Carlyle, is edging closer to a return after breaking his forearm nearly two months ago.
The Penguins are rolling with six wins in a row and are coming off a comeback victory against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday in which they rallied from a 2-0 third-period deficit for a 3-2 win.
Coach Dan Bylsma had no update on injured star Evgeni Malkin, who is expected to miss up to two weeks with an upper-body injury. Malkin already has been out for nearly a week after being hit into the boards by Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk on March 9.
Defenseman Simon Despres should enter the lineup for the Penguins after being scratched against the Bruins. He skated alongside Kris Letang at the morning skate. Bylsma confirmed Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal.
Here are the projected lineups for the Penguins and Maple Leafs:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Beau Bennett - Dustin Jeffrey - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Paul Martin - Brooks Orpik
Simon Despres - Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland
Scratched: Mark Eaton, Robert Bortuzzo
Injured: Evgeni Malkin
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Matt Frattin - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Clarke MacArthur - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov
Colton Orr - Jay McClement - Frazer McLaren
Dion Phaneuf - Korbinian Holzer
Carl Gunnarsson John-Michael Liles
Mark Fraser - Cody Franson
Scratched: David Steckel, Mike Komisarek, Michael Kostka
Injured: Joffrey Lupul (arm)