The Toronto Maple Leafs announced forward John Tavares will be back in the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. Tavares missed the last seven games with a broken finger.
Unsurprisingly, the Maple Leafs struggled without their captain, going 3-2-2 while averaging 3.00 goals per game. The team owns a 4-3-1 record with Tavares this season while averaging 3.88 goals for. The Leafs will hope Tavares’ return will also awaken their dormant power-play. The team went 2 for 22 (9.1%) on the man advantage with Tavares sidelined, the fourth-worst rate in the NHL over that span.
Tavares will re-assume his usual role for the Maple Leafs, centering line 1B with Mitch Marner on his wing. Trevor Moore will be the third wheel on that line, at least until Zach Hyman (knee) returns from injury. Alexander Kerfoot will drop back down to centre Ilya Mikheyev and Kasperi Kapanen on line three. Jason Spezza will be a healthy scratch on Tuesday.
Tavares’ return also alters the team’s power-play structure. He will reclaim a spot on the top power-play unit, forcing William Nylander to drop down to the second unit. The first unit will now consist of Tavares, Marner, Auston Matthews, Andreas Johnsson, and Morgan Rielly. Puck drop for Tuesday’s game is set for 7:30 PM EST.