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Zach Aston-Reese draws into lineup with Matthew Knies out: Leafs practice notes

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Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Barden
9 months ago
After a day off on Friday, the Maple Leafs got back to work to prepare for Game 3 in Florida on Sunday night.
The biggest news throughout the last 48 hours for Toronto was that Matthew Knies suffered a concussion after his entanglement with Sam Bennett in Game 2 on Thursday.
Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe addressed the media on the day off and confirmed that the 20-year-old would miss the next two games, and likely the rest of the series. That’s a huge loss for Toronto after all the success Knies has had in the postseason.
With the 20-year-old coming out, the Maple Leafs had to figure out who his replacement would be (that’s pretty easy), and that’s Zach Aston-Reese.
Aston-Reese will slot back into the lineup in a fourth line role alongside David Kampf and Sam Lafferty. Also in the shuffle are Alex Kerfoot, who’ll move up to the third line, where Knies was slotted.
There was plenty of discussion after the game about Bennett’s play on Knies, and then after with Michael Bunting. Fans wanted a suspension and Keefe said it was a similar play to Auston Matthews’ cross-check on Rasmus Dahlin in last year’s Heritage Classic game.
Alas, we know now that Bennett was only handed a fine of $5,000. With that being said, there could be some type of response in Game 3 on Sunday, Luke Schenn says.
Mark Giordano has had a difficult series against Florida thus far, and just a tough go in the playoffs this season. The 39-year-old has been on the ice for 11 goals against at five-on-five since the playoffs began, the most of any Maple Leafs player.
This series in particular, though, with the speed, has shown that Giordano might not be able to keep up with the fast pace that the Panthers bring. But how does he feel about his play in the playoffs thus far?
Finally, with Games 3 and 4 being in Florida, it’s worth noting that Ticketmaster is limiting tickets to “residents of the United States.” It’s a difficult spot for Maple Leafs fans, but I assume any fan who supports the blue and white will still be able to get a seat inside of the arena.
Even William Nylander believes so:
Game 3 goes down on Sunday, Game 4 goes down on Wednesday. Yes, that’s a very long break in between games. The projected starting goaltenders for Game 3 are none other than Ilya Samsonov for Toronto, and Sergei Bobrovsky for Florida.
Puck drop is set for 6:30 p.m. on Sunday evening inside FLA Live Arena. It’s a chance for the Maple Leafs to claw their way back in the series, or to slide further down the rope.

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