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Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs: Game thread, rosters, lines, and how to watch

Life after Caufield begins for the 2022-23 Canadiens.

NHL: MAR 26 Maple Leafs at Canadiens Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

How to watch

Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In Canada: CBC, Sportsnet East/Ontario/Pacific (English) TVA Sports (French)
In the United States: NHL Network

There was one thing Habs fans were hoping not to see in this rebuilding year that’s going to end without a playoff appearance once again: an injury to Cole Caufield. But that was the news announced this morning by the team, and it’s an injury that will end his season prematurely, cutting short his march to 50 goals at 26 in 46 games.

Now the auditions from AHL players that we expected to ramp up around the trade deadline will begin early, as the organization evaluates the talent it has in the minor ranks. We’ve already seen Jesse Ylönen rise up, struggling to find his footing at even strength, but making the second wave of the power play look dangerous for the first time all season. He may get time with the first unit in Caufield’s absence to show what he can do in a greater role.

The newest tryout is Alex Belzile, the forward brought up from Laval to replace Caufield, though Montreal still has just 11 forwards. That means it’s an 11-7 formation that will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, a team feeling few effects of the injury bug at this stage. On paper it should be a blowout — and if the Canadiens get into penalty trouble as they did versus the Panthers it may be — but the Habs had been playing quality hockey in the games before their last match, and now there are plenty of hopefuls on the roster eager to test themselves against one of the top teams in the NHL.

Montreal Canadiens projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
#17 Josh Anderson #14 Nick Suzuki #32 Rem Pitlick
#68 Mike Hoffman #77 Kirby Dach #63 Evgenii Dadonov
#49 Rafaël Harvey-Pinard #28 Christian Dvorak #56 Jesse Ylönen
#55 Michael Pezzetta #60 Alex Belzile

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
#8 Mike Matheson #58 David Savard
#44 Joel Edmundson #52 Justin Barron
$54 Jordan Harris #72 Arber Xhekaj
#26 Johnny Kovacevic

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
#35 Samuel Montembeault #30 Cayden Primeau

Scratched: Chris Wideman
Injured: Jake Allen, Joel Armia, Paul Byron, Cole Caufield, Jonathan Drouin, Jake Evans, Brendan Gallagher, Kaiden Guhle, Sean Monahan, Juraj Slafkovský

Toronto Maple Leafs projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Michael Bunting Auston Matthews William Nylander
Calle Jarnkrok John Tavares Mitch Marner
Bobby McMann David Kampf Pierre Engvall
Zach Aston-Reese Alexander Kerfoot Wayne Simmonds

Defencemen

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Morgan Rielly Timothy Liljegren
Mark Giordano Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin Conor Timmins

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Ilya Samsonov Matt Murray