Keefe appears to be running it back, Nylander remains a mystery, and powerplay changes: Leafs Practice Notes

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
4 days ago
All eyes were on the Maple Leafs practice this morning to determine how likely it is that William Nylander is playing.  Let’s start there:
So based on Sheldon Keefe being comfortable with how Nylander looked and it just coming down to Nylander’s feeling post skate, it seems more likely that Nylander is in than out tonight. It would take a lot for a player to miss a playoff game and given that Nylander simply doesn’t miss games and has put in the work the past couple of days, it seems likely that he’ll play. That might just be some optimism, but Leafs fans could use some optimism after game one. With Nylander swapping in for Nick Robertson on the line rushes it seems that it is likely that Nylander in and Robertson out is the move Keefe will make if Willy is good to go.
If Nylander is in it doesn’t seem like a stretch to have him either replace Bertuzzi and bump him down to the second unit or to have Nylander come in for Jarnkrok on the second unit. If you are going to put Nylander in the lineup it would be absolutely bizarre to sit him on the powerplay especially when carrying the puck into the offensive zone is his calling card.
If Nylander sits, swapping Jarnkrok for Bertuzzi is already a step forward. The Leafs are going to need greasy goals against Swayman and no one is greasier on the Leafs than Tyler Bertuzzi. That second unit leaves a lot to be desired and Toronto needs to keep their top unit out there as much as they can.
The Leafs defence did not look good in Game One and bringing in TJ Brodie and some additional skill seemed like a plausible move. What the lack of changes in the Leafs lineup points to is that Sheldon Keefe really believes in his plan for this series and isn’t going to let a rough game one for him into changes before he deems them completely necessary. There is a risk with taking that chance as they could find themselves down two games in the series with that gamble but that looks to be what is happening unless Keefe is hoping a surprise lineup card will somehow throw the Bruins off their game.
All signs seem to be pointing to Samsonov starting but again, until the lineup card is submitted anything can happen. Samsonov’s team let him down more than the other way around in Game One, but when you have two goaltenders as close in ability as Samsonov and Woll and neither being the clear #1 for the Leafs, it is interesting to go back to Ilya.
On the Bruins front, it is also playing out exactly as you’d expect. Given that Swayman has been hot against the Leafs all season and was dominant in Game One, Montgomery is unlikely to change things up now. If the Bruins get a two or three game cushion over the Leafs at some point that would be the logical time to get Ullmark some work in case he’s needed.
Puck drop is at 7pm ET tonight in Boston and Game Two can be found on Sportsnet.

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