William Nylander In Doubt, Keefe Looks to Be Going With Same Line-up for Game 2

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without William Nylander for the second straight game to open their playoff series against the Boston Bruins
Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers
Toronto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

As the Toronto Maple Leafs prepare for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference playoffs series against the Boston Bruins it looks like they might be without William Nylander for the second consecutive game.

Nylander who did not dress for the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 had an undisclosed injury that he appeared to wake up with last Thursday.

His absence in the first game of the series was noticeable as one of the team's biggest weaknesses in the game was their drive through the neutral zone which is an aspect that Nylander is arguably the strongest on the team with.

Mark Masters reported the lines during the Monday skate and stated that Nylander was staying out on the ice late with what appeared to be the healthy scratches. These are the first games that the usually durable Swede has missed since the 2021-22 regular season.

Of course there is always a chance that Nylander plays, but since it's the playoffs the Leafs are not releasing any pre-game information.

Looks Like There Are No Changes to the Line-up

If we go by practice, then there won't be any changes coming to the lineup. Despite how much I usually disagree with coach Sheldon Keefe's deployment of the team, I can't argue with his decision here and I would go back with the same line-up as well.

If Nylander was healthy that would be the easy change to the line-up as I would either put him on the left side of John Tavares and Mitch Marner with Matthew Knies dropping down to Ryan Reaves spot; or put Nylander into Calle Järnkrok's spot on the third line and drop him into Reaves spot.

However, with the elite play driving forward still out, the only other change up front would come from Noah Gregor and I'm not sure if he is an upgrade on Reaves.

The defense pairs remain untouched for the game which is something I believe is a smart decision by Keefe. The only possibility of a change is if T.J. Brodie would draw into the game, but he would be completely exposed to the style of play that the Bruins attack with.

When it comes down to it, if the Maple Leafs can be more diligent with their sticks and stay out of the penalty box, accompanied by calming their nerves and most importantly having their elite players being exactly that, they will come out on top.

Time for the Big Guys to Show up

The biggest factor is having Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and John Tavares take over the game. All too often they are criticized for not showing up in the playoffs and it is time for them to do so.

Tavares has just one goal in his last ten playoff games, while going pointless in seven of those contests. Matthews has not scored a goal in his last six playoff games, while going pointless in four consecutive.

Like the Maple Leafs captain, Marner has just one goal in his last ten playoff games and gone pointless in five of his last seven contests (ref: hockey-reference.com).


Game time is at 7PM EST tonight and if the Maple Leafs can come out victorious it will swings thing in their favour.