With veteran forwards Leo Komarov and Nazem Kadri both missing from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup in their Game 3 match up against the Boston Bruins on Monday evening, Leafs fans were afraid that the team may be lacking some bite or pushback. As it turns out, bite wasn’t what the team needed to finally draw blood in the series. Propelled by a two goal performance from Patrick Marleau, the Leafs earned their first win of the series by coming at the Bruins with waves of offence and speed. The “tough guy” approach, it seems, isn’t all its cracked up to be.
While Kadri still has a game left to serve in his three game suspension, there’s much talk in Toronto these days about Komarov and how he fits into the team’s plans moving forward. If he’s deemed healthy enough to go tomorrow night for Game 4, should he slot back into the lineup? If so, where? Rookie Andreas Johnsson has looked good while filling in, bringing speed and offensive ability to the team’s fourth line with Dominic Moore and Kasperi Kapanen. Is it really a smart move to take the youngster out for Komarov?
Well… if today’s lines from Leafs practice are any indication, it doesn’t appear like Komarov is in the plans for tomorrow night, injured or otherwise. Here’s how the Leafs lined up for practice today courtesy of TSN’s Kristen Shilton:
Notice the absence of Komarov. Again, whether or not this means Komarov is in or out… who knows? But typically Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is not one to change his lineup from practice to game. With it being the Stanley Cup Playoffs however all bets are off.
Komarov was injured in Game 2 of the Leafs’ opening round series when he collided with Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller in the second period. Komarov attempted to return to the game, but after just one shift he returned to the team’s dressing room for repairs and did not play again. No official word yet on the nature or severity of his injury, but judging by the fact that he was not at practice today we can probably safely assume that this is more than the average “bumps and bruises” type injury.
UPDATE: Babcock confirms that Komarov WILL NOT play tomorrow's game against the Bruins.