Leafs' Nylander misses second straight playoff game with undisclosed injury

BOSTON — William Nylander missed Game 2 of the Maple Leafs' first-round playoff series Monday with an undisclosed injury.

Toronto's star winger also sat out his team's 5-1 loss to the Boston Bruins in Saturday's opener.

Nylander didn't take part in line rushes at the morning skate and stayed out late with most of the projected scratches at TD Garden, which strongly suggested he wouldn't dress.

But head coach Sheldon Keefe said following the session Nylander's status would be determined ahead of puck drop.

The door swung shut on the 27-year-old Swede's availability when the Leafs hit the ice for warmups.

Toronto rookie winger Nick Robertson slotted into the lineup as Nylander's replacement in Game 1 and took the same roster spot Monday.

Nylander played all 82 games in the regular season, putting up 40 goals for the second straight campaign and setting a career-high with 98 points, but registered just four assists over his final 11 contests.

The 22-year-old Robertson seemed to indicated following the morning skate he expected to be in the lineup for Game 2.

"They're taking care of him," he said of Nylander. "It's only a matter of time until he's back.

"We've got to do what we can without him and hopefully get a win."

Nylander has missed time due to illness in the past, but hadn't been sidelined with an injury since November 2016 until this series.

He had four goals and 10 points in 11 playoff games last spring as Toronto won a series for the first time in nearly two decades. He's combined for 17 goals and 40 points in 50 career post-season contests.

The best-of-seven matchup shifts to Toronto for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Saturday.

Robertson, who put up 14 goals and 27 points in 56 contests in the regular season, made his NHL debut inside the tightly managed post-season bubble minus spectators in August 2020 after the league resumed play during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was exciting," he said of his first playoff game with fans Saturday. "A lot of emotion, a lot of intensity."

Robertson had a great chance in tight early Saturday, but was denied by Boston goaltender Jeremy Swayman's pad.

"Amazed I got a puck like that right away on the first shift," he said. "Goalie made a great save. I wish I lifted it up a little bit."

The Leafs and Bruins are meeting for the fourth time in 12 years in the first round. Boston won the three previous series — 2013, 2018 and 2019 — in seven games.

Keefe was also asked after the morning skate about Domi's performance in a Game 1 that saw him cross-check and slash Boston's Brad Marchand before the puck was dropped. He then took a slashing penalty in the second period on the Bruins captain that led to the home side's fourth goal.

"It's all part of the intensity," Keefe said. "I don't need Max to change anything about who he is. He's an important guy for us.

"I loved the intensity he brought the other night."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2024.


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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press