Nylander a full participant, Matthews takes a maintance day, and Brodie slots in: Leafs Practice Notes

Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
4 hours ago
William Nylander took another step towards making his series debut by participating fully in today’s practice.
Based on the comments he made with the media afterwards, he seems ready to debut in the series on Saturday night and will start on the third line with Calle Jarnkrok and Pontus Holmberg if that’s the case. Sheldon Keefe later added that he was impressed with Nylander’s showing at practice and a decision will be made tomorrow whether or not he will play.
Nylander has yet to make an appearance in this series due to suffering from a migraine that has been bothering him since after the regular season finale. It’s not the first time he has had a bout with migraines as he had to deal with it during the 2021-22 season which resulted in him switching his visors in 2022-23. While we won’t know the specifics of what he went through, his return will no doubt be a huge boost up front especially for the anemic power play.
Auston Matthews was absent from today’s practice as he continues to fight through an illness that he reportedly played through in Game 3. Keefe told reporters that he feels the star forward was given the day to recharge and should be okay but will reassess things tomorrow before puck drop. Given how impactful he was in Game 2, the Leafs cannot afford to have him miss some time.
Ilya Lyubushkin had to step away from the team to attend to his wife who gave birth to a girl yesterday which is why he was not available at practice today. Keefe mentioned that the Russian blueliner is en route back from California and should be good to play on Saturday.
While he was away, we got a preview of a change being made to the lineup as it appears Timothy Liljegren is set to be a healthy scratch while TJ Brodie will make his series debut. It is not the only change that could be forth coming as seen below:
Should Nylander get the green light to play again on Saturday, then Connor Dewar will slide out of the lineup since he was a placeholder for Matthews on the top line today. It certainly must feel good for Nick Robertson who was in real danger of being sat in this scenario, but with scoring once again being a problem I would imagine that’s why he is getting the nod.
Otherwise, the rest of the lineup should remain mostly intact which includes Ilya Samsonov being the Game 4 starter as he was the first goalie off the ice today.
Game 4 is set for tomorrow where The Leafs will look to even the series against the Bruins. You can catch the action on Sportsnet and HNIC with puck drop scheduled for 8 p.m. EST.

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