Maple Leafs say Michael Bunting ‘feeling better’, will know more about his injury when they return home
Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
6 months ago
WASHINGTON — The Toronto Maple Leafs still don’t know the severity of Michael Bunting’s injury, but head coach Sheldon Keefe said the forward woke up on Sunday feeling better than the team had expected.
“It’s a really good sign for us,” Keefe said. “But we won’t know more until we get home and a chance to get it looked at.”
Bunting’s injury is undisclosed but the Scarborough native left the in the first period of the Maple Leafs’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday shaking out his right leg. Following the game, Keefe said they expected the player to “miss some time.”
“He was playing really good hockey for us, so hopefully he’ll be ok,” teammate David Kampf said on Sunday.
The Leafs finish off a their three-game road trip in Washington on Sunday. It’s their last road game of the regular season before finishing out the season with two games at home against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday and Boston Bruins on Friday.
Bunting has been a good find for the Maple Leafs. Signed to a two-year, $1.9 million contract this past summer, the forward found a home on the team’s top line alongside stars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.
The 26-year-old has 23 goals and 40 assists in 79 games.
“We’re definitely going to miss him a lot,” Maple Leafs defenceman Justin Holl said. “Hopefully (the injury) is as mild as possible, but you feel for a guy like that and hopefully it’s not too bad.
William Nylander filled in for Bunting for much of Saturday’s game but it’s not clear what the Leafs would do should the forward be out for an extended period of time.
“We’ve grown to really appreciate what he does and he brings a lot to our group,” Keefe said of Bunting. “We’ve played without different people throughout the season at different times this season. We expect guys will take advantage of the opportunities that come their way.”
The Leafs will continue experimenting as John Tavares will sit out Sunday’s game for load management. Carl Dahlstrom will also slot in for defenceman Timothy Liljegren who is dealing with some bumps and bruises.
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- William Nylander shows self-awareness as Maple Leafs forward aims to improve as a player by David Alter
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