Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs start their new season. As has been the case for the past few seasons, the team begins the season with high expectations. There is a big hope and a strong belief that this might be the season the team will make a serious run at the Stanley Cup.

They finished second in the Atlantic Division last season and aim to build on their success. Under new general manager Brad Treliving, they have added significant players. These include offensive-minded forwards Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi. They also signed Ryan Reaves to add grit and toughness to the team.

Related: 4 Maple Leafs Questions That Must Be Answered Before Season

Key Players for the Maple Leafs This Season

In addition to the new additions named above, the team’s defence will be led by Morgan Rielly. Newcomer John Klingberg will quarterback the team’s first-unit power play. Last season’s trade deadline acquisition Jake McCabe will also be a key part of the team’s blue line.

The Maple Leafs forward units will again be led by Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander. Rookies Matthew Knies and Fraser Minten will add some interest to the lineup.

The starting goalie for tonight’s game will be Ilya Samsonov. He seems ready to play despite taking a high shot off the neck during practice.

Overall, the Maple Leafs are entering the season with confidence and aspirations of championship success.

Related: 3 Reasons Fraser Minten Makes the Maple Leafs Roster

Maple Leafs Game 1 Line Combinations, Defensive Pairings & Special Teams

As for the Maple Leafs lineup in tonight’s game, the forward combinations feature Tyler Bertuzzi, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner on the first line. The second line consists of Max Domi, John Tavares, and William Nylander. On the third line, you’ll find Matthew Knies, Fraser Minten, and Calle Jarnkrok, while the fourth line includes Noah Gregor, David Kampf, and Ryan Reaves.

John Tavares & William Nylander, Maple Leafs

Defensively, the pairings are Morgan Rielly with T.J. Brodie (first pairing), Jake McCabe with John Klingberg (second pairing), and Mark Giordano with Timothy Liljegren (third pairing).

As for special teams, the first powerplay unit will employ William Nylander, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, John Klingberg, and Auston Matthews. The second powerplay unit will be made up of Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, Calle Jarnkrok, Morgan Rielly, and Timothy Liljegren.

On the penalty kill, the first unit utilizes David Kampf, Mitch Marner, T.J. Brodie, and Jake McCabe. The second penalty kill unit consists of Dylan Gambrell, Mark Giordano, and Timothy Liljegren. It will be interesting to see if Auston Matthews gets some penalty-kill minutes as well.

In goal, Ilya Samsonov is set to start, with Joseph Woll as the backup.

Related: Maple Leafs Fans: Ready to See What Ryan Reaves Is Made Of

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