According to a report from TSN reporter and Toronto Maple Leafs insider Kristen Shilton, the Leafs will take to the ice for Game 3 of their opening round playoff series against the Boston Bruins without veteran winger Leo Komarov.
Leafs head coach Mike Babcock confirmed that Komarov, who was injured in Game 2’s 7-3 loss, is not likely to suit up for Game 3 due to a lower body injury.
Babcock also confirmed that goaltender Frederik Andersen, who received a mercy pull during last night’s game, will also get the start in goal, despite some fans calling for Curtis McElhinny to get the nod. Little surprise there because, while Andersen got shelled in Game 2, you can't hang the loss on the netminder.
As for Komarov and his spot in the lineup, it’s expected that rookie Andreas Johnsson will hold down a full-time spot on the team’s 4th line in Komarov’s absence, but nothing is confirmed yet. Fans may recall the shenanigans between Komarov and Boston Bruins super pest Brad Marchand from game one, in which it appeared that Marchand kissed or even licked Komarov during an “up close and personal” moment.
Oh my… that is up close and personal.
With the Bruins holding a commanding 2-0 series lead, it’s clear that the Leafs will need a win on home ice tomorrow if they want to really stay in this series. The good news for them is that they’ve been a strong home team all season long, putting together a 29-10-2 record at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto during the 2017-18 campaign.
Depending on who you ask, the removal of Komarov from the lineup may actually be a benefit for the Leafs tomorrow. The 31 year old pending unrestricted free-agent has not been his usual self this season, with just seven goals and 19 points in 74 games after back to back 30+ point seasons. The former sixth round pick (180th overall) from the 2006 NHL Entry Draft has also been held pointless in the Leafs' first two playoff games this season. For what it's worth, he managed just a single assists in six playoff games last season against the Washington Capitals.