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Golden Knights at Maple Leafs preview

Toronto center Matthews game-time decision against Vegas

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent




The Game

Center Auston Matthews will be a game-time decision for the Toronto Maple Leafs when they face the Vegas Golden Knights for the first time at Air Canada Centre on Monday.

Matthews took line rushes at the morning skate but left after spending about seven minutes on the ice. Coach Mike Babcock said he is dealing with a little soreness.

The Maple Leafs, who are 1-5-0 in their past six games after a 7-2-0 start, return home after going 1-3-0 on a four-game road trip.

The Golden Knights can match the NHL record for the fewest games to reach 10 wins in an inaugural season set by the Montreal Canadiens (10-4-0) in 1917-18. Vegas ended a three-game losing streak with a 5-4 win against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.


Players to watch

Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault had three points (goal, two assists) against the Senators. He has five points (goal, four assists) in his past three games and nine points (four goals, five assists) in 10 games this season.

Maple Leafs forward Connor Brown, who has nine points (six goals, three assists) in 15 games, has scored in three consecutive games. He is tied with Nazem Kadri for second on the Maple Leafs in goals, four behind Matthews.


They said it

"It looks like an easy game from upstairs but it's not. I'm just having fun with it; it's going to happen sometimes. I'm still a young guy trying to find my way through the League. I knew it wasn't going to be smooth sailing all the time so I'm just trying to keep it even keel." -- Golden Knights forward Brendan Leipsic, back in the lineup after missing the past five games as a healthy scratch

"The type of players they've got on their team, it's a lot of guys who were on third lines before who check really hard and skate really hard so I think as much as they've been able to score, they're a really good checking hockey club." -- Maple Leafs forward Connor Brown on the Golden Knights


Golden Knights projected lineup

Jonathan Marchessault -- William Karlsson -- Reilly Smith

David Perron -- Erik Haula -- James Neal

Oscar Lindberg -- Cody Eakin -- Alex Tuch

Brendan Leipsic -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Tomas Nosek
Nate Schmidt -- Luca Sbisa

Brayden McNabb -- Deryk Engelland

Colin Miller -- Shea Theodore
Maxime Lagace

Dylan Ferguson
Scratched: William Carrier, Brad Hunt, Jon Merrill

Injured: Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion), Malcolm Subban (lower body), Oscar Dansk (lower body)


Maple Leafs projected lineup

Zach Hyman -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Leo Komarov -- Nazem Kadri -- Patrick Marleau

James van Riemsdyk -- Dominic Moore -- Connor Brown

Matt Martin -- Tyler Bozak -- Mitchell Marner
Morgan Rielly -- Ron Hainsey

Jake Gardiner -- Nikita Zaitsev

Andreas Borgman -- Connor Carrick
Frederik Andersen

Curtis McElhinney
Scratched: Josh Leivo, Kasperi Kapanen, Roman Polak

Injured: None


Status report

Carrier will be replaced by Leipsic. ... If Matthews cannot play, Nylander will skate between Hyman and Brown.


Stat pack

Lagace became the fourth Golden Knights goaltender to win a game Saturday. ... The Maple Leafs have allowed four or more goals in four of their past six games.

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