Domi is day to day, Murray getting work, and a healthier blueline: Leafs practice notes

Photo credit:Matt Murray (Steven Ellis/The Leafs Nation)
Jon Steitzer
16 days ago
I guess it’s better late than never when it comes to practice notes, and it seems like it was a busy day for the Leafs.
In case you were wondering where this injury can from, a safe bet is Domi’s hand is sore from colliding with Simon Nemec’s head. Given the time of year it probably makes sense for Domi to sit on Saturday night and heal up completely.
I know after a rough night on Thursday there probably was some interest in going with Woll on Saturday night but this move seems like it makes the most sense. The Leafs going with Samsonov on Saturday night potentially rests him up for the week and has him ready for Game One next weekend. It also means that he’s not going into the playoffs with the performance against New Jersey hanging over his head.
If it was up to me I’d go with Jones against the Panthers and give Woll the final game against Tampa, but any option that doesn’t involve Samsonov playing the Panthers makes sense to me.
Things have been going well for the Leafs lately but one bummer is that William Nylander stalled after 40 goals and is still 4 points away from 100. Hopefully the extra work gets him to 100, but like he said, the main thing is being ready for the playoffs.
The Leafs blueline is finally healing and Toronto having options is ideal. Liljegren has had his rough patches this season but early in the year he was one of the top defensemen and prior to his most recent injury was on the path back to being one of the best back end options, especially looking strong alongside Joel Edmundson.
Matt Murray is back to being in the mix and while most of the league is freaking out about the return of Mark Stone for the Vegas Golden Knights, the Leafs have a playoff performer of their own waiting in the wings.
Now, what does Murray returning actually mean, well, it was a chance for Samsonov to work separately with Curtis Sanford today and ultimately Murray will is a depth option the Leafs may want to go to in the playoffs rather than Martin Jones if it comes to that. If you are debating whether or not to play your 3rd or 4th string netminder, you are probably in the final moments of being eliminated from the playoffs, so this really is more about Murray getting a chance to put in some work to see if he will be able to resume his NHL career next season.
No real surprise here but I wonder if we will see the Leafs look for opportunities to get McCabe and/or Rielly a bit of rest before the time of year where they are likely to be seeing 25+ minute nights.
Here is the new look lineup:
The fact that Gregor is placeholding certainly leads me to believe the intention is to get Domi into the lineup on Saturday night. The middle six forwards have the slight change of Robertson getting a look with Holmberg and Nylander and that seems like it poses some defensive zone challenges. The Knies-Kampf-Reaves line is certainly something different, but we haven’t seen a lot of Knies with Kampf this season and that is worth exploring and given the no nonsense time of the year it makes sense to have Ryan Reaves in every night until Game One and then the debate can rage on about who should be the Leafs fourth line to open the playoffs.
Defensively, Rielly and Liljegren is certainly an interesting pairing that has done well together. Benoit and McCabe go without saying, and Edmundson with Brodie is a curious experiment but the decision to put Brodie back on the right side doesn’t have me excited. There are still a lot of moving parts to the Leafs blueline and using the combination of the six defencemen they have dressed is a good start to figuring out where they want to be a week from now.
The Leafs face the Red Wings on Saturday night at 7pm ET. 

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