0
Photo Credit: © Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Ondrej Kase to miss third straight game for Maple Leafs with upper-body injury

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe says Ondrej Kase is dealing with an upper-body injury and will miss his third consecutive game with the ailment when his team hosts the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

“I think he’s going to get more tests and things like that and things done here today,” Keefe said of Kase. “He got through practice yesterday and felt good but not in a position where he was going to play tonight, so we’re going to use the time to get a little more of a sense of what might be happening.”

Kase has missed several stretches this season due to various injuries and his most recent absence came as a bit of a surprise when the speedy forward took part in the team’s morning skate against the Washington Capitals on Monday but did not take part in the game later in the evening.

Kase has 11 goals and 23 points in 44 games. When healthy, he’s become a dependable and versatile forward who has played on Toronto’s top three lines. He most recently got a look on Maple Leafs’ second line with John Tavares and William Nylander, as Keefe attempted a new look to get the latter two going offensively.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

That role now belongs to Nick Robertson, who skated with Tavares and Nylander during Friday’s practice.

“I’ve got to compliment those guys as best as possible,” Robertson said. “I think I’ve only had two games with them and it only lasted a game, so I’ll try to prolong that a little bit longer and do the best I can.”

Robertson skated with Tavares and Nylander last season in April against the Vancouver Canucks and it didn’t go well. The Canucks, who played their first game in three weeks after a COVID-19 outbreak, defeated Toronto 3-2 in overtime and followed that up with a 6-3 win just two days later.

The 20-year forward has played three games this season in a fourth-line role, which didn’t allow for him to show off his offensive side. Now in a second-line role, Robertson should see a big jump from the 8:45 of ice time he’s averaged over those games.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Rasmus Sandin will also be out of the lineup due to an illness. The defenceman stayed home Saturday morning and did not take part during Friday’s practice.

Timothy Liljegren will step back into the lineup after he served as a healthy scratch during Toronto’s 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. He’ll be reunited with Morgan Rielly on the team’s top pair.

Jack Campbell will get the start in goal after he served as a backup in back-to-back games. A solid showing could go a long way to putting Saturday’s disastrous performance against the Detroit Red Wings in the past.

Campbell was pulled in a winning situation after he allowed five goals on 25 shots and allowed the Red Wings to creep closer in a game that seemingly appeared out of reach. Toronto hung on to defeat Detroit 10-7.