By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Leafs are likely to lose Nazem Kadri for at least one game against the Bruins. So they now have to put a less-than-ideal lineup on the ice for Game 3, and potentially beyond.
Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic posted the Leafs' line combinations during practice on Monday. Toronto is looking to rebound from a 4-1 loss to the Bruins that evened their first-round playoff series at 1-1. They also need to withstand the likely loss of Kadri, who faces a suspension for the second straight playoff series after cross-checking Jake DeBrusk in the face.
The big move here is that the Leafs are moving William Nylander from right wing to center.
Leafs AM lines:
— Fluto Shinzawa (@FlutoShinzawa) April 15, 2019
Replacing Kadri at center with Nylander zaps whatever physical edge the Leafs may have had at that spot. And though skilled winger Tyler Ennis now slides in on the fourth line, they're not exactly gaining skill, either.
As physically intimidating as Kadri can be, his skill was also a problem in the first two games. He scored the Leafs' only goal of Game 2 with a deflection in front of Tuukka Rask. He also made an excellent stretch pass to Nylander that sparked the back-breaking third goal in the Bruins' Game 1 loss.
It's likely that only one of them will be on the ice Monday night. And Kadri is probably going to have to hope that his undisciplined play doesn't fatally hurt his team's playoff chances once again.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].