TORONTO – In Toronto, the accidents are piling up as quick because the victories.
Three Maple Leafs integral to the membership’s league-leading 14th win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday won’t be obtainable for Monday’s tilt versus the visiting Calgary Flames.
Prime-line winger Joe Thornton and ferocious forechecker Zach Hyman are each listed as day-to-day as they take care of undisclosed accidents suffered or aggravated Saturday, whereas prime shutdown man Jake Muzzin is out indefinitely with a damaged bone in his face.
Toss within the sidelined Wayne Simmonds (wrist) and Jack Campbell (leg), and the Leafs’ 44 man-games misplaced this season attributable to accidents continues to rise.
“Each evening is a problem,” captain John Tavares mentioned. “No matter lineup we now have, we now have nice depth.”
That depth shall be put to the check Monday towards a Flames workforce with lots to show after dropping three straight, together with a 7-1 embarrassment in Saturday’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
Muzzin and accomplice Justin Holl have been Toronto’s most constant defensive pairing this season. Muzzin suffered his face damage late within the third interval on this play whereas defending Tyler Toffoli, who later scored on the identical shift:
“He’s obtained to provide it a while to settle,” mentioned Keefe, not prepared to offer a timeline for Muzzin’s return. “When he comes again, it’ll must be with a full protect.”
Travis Dermott will obtain a promotion to Holl’s left, as he did in 2019-20 when Muzzin was sidelined with a damaged foot.
A golden alternative to show his price in a tenuous contract marketing campaign.
“It is one thing that I do know (Dermott’s) been ready for, and one thing we have been wanting to organize him for,” Keefe mentioned. “That is an awesome factor for us to observe in the present day, and he is excited for that chance. He is been very affected person and has actually labored onerous from Day 1 of camp. And he is obtained an opportunity right here tonight to take a giant step.”
This shall be Dermott’s first time seeing top-four minutes all season. He’s been sheltered and, often, scratched throughout Toronto’s 14-3-2 tear to the highest.
“We’ve taken slightly little bit of a step again with him, however it was all in the direction of realizing that we weren’t going to remain wholesome all season lengthy, realizing that his alternative could be there. We would like him to be higher ready for it,” Keefe defined.
“We weren’t proud of the way it went final day trip (when Muzzin was injured in 2020’s Columbus Blue Jackets) sequence. And it was extra of a reminder for me that we have to rethink how we have been creating Derms in the direction of such a possibility.”
Hyman missed Thursday’s win over the Ottawa Senators after blocking a tough shot together with his foot Wednesday. Then promptly obtained right into a lane and absorbed one other blasted puck Saturday:
Taking part in alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, Thornton loved a four-game, seven-point streak final week upon returning to motion from his cracked rib. However the oldest ahead within the league absorbed some heavy blows from the Canadiens, who threw a whopping 44 hits in Saturday’s bodily affair.
Alexander Barabanov and Nic Petan draw into the Leafs lineup to plug the holes up entrance.
Keefe didn’t announce who would fill Thornton’s spot on the most popular line in hockey, however one candidate must be William Nylander, whom the coach used within the position for a spell Thursday.
Nylander was benched for the latter half of Saturday’s win, and Keefe has since spoken together with his star winger.
“The trouble I count on is his finest effort. I am not essentially questioning his effort the opposite evening. That wasn’t it for me. It was simply adapting to the sport,” mentioned Keefe, who has pressured the significance of puck administration whereas defending a lead.
“I believed we adjusted very effectively and managed the puck effectively managed the sport extraordinarily effectively (in Interval 3), and we count on that from all people. And I feel Will isn’t any completely different. We count on loads from him, and that is a giant a part of it. As for our conversations, we have talked loads all through the season and final, and he is aware of precisely what my expectations are of him.”
Vowing to shoot extra, Nylander was out early for Monday’s pregame skate engaged on his one-timers with assistant Manny Malhotra.
Stated Tavares: “William is extraordinarily aggressive and needs to make a distinction.”