Leafs un­cer­tain if Leo Ko­marov will be ready for Game 3

The Sault Star - - SPORTS - The Cana­dian Press

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Bab­cock isn’t plan­ning to have for­ward Leo Ko­marov in the lineup against the Bos­ton Bru­ins as they try and dig out of an 0-2 se­ries deficit.

Ko­marov left Satur­day’s 7-3 Game 2 loss with a lower-body in­jury and Bab­cock says he doesn’t know if the Fin­nish for­ward will be ready to re­turn for Mon­day’s Game 3 matchup at Air Canada Cen­tre.

“What I’m plan­ning on do­ing is go­ing with­out him and if he shows up he shows up,” said Bab­cock.

The 31-year-old started Game 2 on Toronto’s top unit with Aus­ton Matthews and Kasperi Ka­pa­nen, but a 4-0 first-pe­riod deficit led to him be­ing dropped down to the fourth to start the se­cond. He played just 6:39 be­fore leav­ing in the mid­dle frame and not re­turn­ing.

Bab­cock has al­ready had to shuf­fle his line­ups in the se­ries which has made it more dif­fi­cult for him to try and line match against the Bru­ins.

He was forced to switch up in Game 2 be­cause of Nazem Kadri’s three-game sus­pen­sion. Kadri was pun­ished by the NHL af­ter board­ing Tommy Win­gels in the se­ries opener — a 5-1 loss that saw emo­tions start to rev up.

For­wards Do­minic Moore, Matt Martin and Josh Leivo are all healthy and ready to go, with all three tak­ing part in post-sea­son prac­tices. But Bab­cock wouldn’t tip his hand at who could po­ten­tially re­place Ko­marov in the lineup if needed.

“We’re go­ing to play hard against them. We’ve got last change (at home). I’ll tell you (Mon­day) dur­ing warmup.”

On Sun­day, Bab­cock chose to hold a team meet­ing at Air Canada Cen­tre rather than an off-day skate. Af­ter be­ing outscored 12-4 in the first two games of the se­ries, he wanted his team to find a way to re­cen­tre while also go­ing over video of what needs to be im­proved on ahead of Game 3.

“Get re-en­er­gized here today. Ba­si­cally, we brought them in here today just to clean the mech­a­nism out and let’s get ready to go and get af­ter it. We spent all year pre­par­ing for this op­por­tu­nity, putting in a lot of work and don’t feel we’ve been as good as we’re ca­pa­ble of be­ing,” said Bab­cock.

“That part is dis­ap­point­ing, but the other part is we know how good we are and we want to play that well.”

MAD­DIE MEYER/GETTY IMAGES

Toronto Maple Leafs’ for­ward Leo Ko­marov leaves the ice dur­ing the se­cond pe­riod of Game 2 of the East­ern Con­fer­ence First Round against the Bos­ton Bru­ins dur­ing the 2018 NHL Stan­ley Cup Playoffs, at TD Garden, on Satur­day, in Bos­ton.

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