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McMann, Domi out as Leafs prep for potential playoff preview in Florida

Bobby McMann Toronto Maple Leafs Bobby McMann - Getty Images

The Maple Leafs practiced at Ford Performance Centre on Monday before flying to Florida.


Left winger Bobby McMann will miss the final two games of the regular season after sustaining a lower-body injury on Saturday. His availability for the start of the playoffs is also in doubt.

"We've got a week here before we get going so we'll see where he's at as that approaches," said head coach Sheldon Keefe.

During his last shift on Saturday, McMann got hit by Detroit Red Wings winger Alex DeBrincat along the boards. DeBrincat's knee made contact with McMann's knee.

McMann, 27, has emerged as a key player for the Leafs down the stretch. He scored 12 even-strength goals in the last 30 games, which places him behind only Auston Matthews on the team since Feb. 13.

McMann started Saturday's game on the second line with John Tavares and Mitch Marner.

"He really established himself with our group and within the league," said Tavares. "It's hopefully something that's not too long ... Everyone plays a role no matter how big or small, but certainly his game has come on and his role has gotten larger and larger and we'll miss him if he misses any time."


ContentId(1.2104741): Leafs' McMann out for rest of regular season; wait-and-see approach for playoffs


Max Domi will also miss Tuesday's game in Florida and will likely sit out Wednesday's regular season finale in Tampa as well.

"We are not going to give you much at this time of year, but we will see where Max and Bobby are later in the week," Keefe said.

Domi missed practice on Friday last week and was again absent on Monday. Did something flare-up in the game against Detroit?

"I wouldn't say 'flare-up,'" Keefe noted. "It is more that he has been dealing with something that he felt would not affect him playing, but I don't think that was the case necessarily. It is not any worse or anything. It is just about managing it."

The team has not revealed how Domi got hurt, but he did drop the gloves with New Jersey Devils defenceman Simon Nemec in a game last Thursday. Domi confronted Nemec after the rookie got into it with Matthews during a puck battle along the boards.

"Loved it," said winger Ryan Reaves. "He's been doing that all year and that's something that we're going to have to bring into playoffs, that kind of energy, that kind of togetherness, and that's one of the reasons he was brought in here too."

It was Domi's sixth fight of the season, which is a career high.

"I'm not going to say he's [like father] Tie [Domi], but he can still chuck'em for a little guy," Reaves said. "He missed on a couple heavy upper cuts that, if they would've caught, it might've been night night for that guy. Yeah, he did well."

Domi leads the Leafs in 5-on-5 assists and has hit it off with Matthews on the top line of late. Marner moved back into that spot beside Matthews at Monday's practice.

"That was an easy one," Keefe said of the decision to reunite the dynamic duo.

William Nylander and Matthew Knies moved up to flank Tavares on the second line.


ContentId(1.2104739): Domi finds it hard to manage injury; not expected to play again in regular season


Calle Jarnkrok took part in a portion of Monday's practice. It was the 32-year-old winger's first session with teammates since sustaining a hand injury on March 14.

"Today was progress for him," Keefe said. "We really only put him on the ice for the penalty-kill portion of the practice just to get him some reps there. He is not ready to play at this point, and he hasn't had a full practice with us yet. It was positive to see him out there and being a little more involved with the different drills before practice began."

Jarnkrok's status for Game 1 of the playoffs is still up in the air. The versatile winger is a key penalty killer. The Leafs rank 24th in penalty-kill percentage this season.

"He is more in a day-to-day situation, but unfortunately, we are running out of schedule," Keefe said. "We will see where he is. He is going to be traveling with us."

Jarnkrok also broke a knuckle in his hand in late January. He's only played six games since the All-Star break.


ContentId(1.2104740): Jarnkrok does PK reps at Leafs practice, but Game 1 status still in doubt


Jake McCabe left Saturday's game after taking a shot off his face. The defenceman was unable to return due to swelling around his left eye, but was back on the ice for Monday's practice.

"Got lucky," McCabe said. "It's always kind of scary with the eyes, but I feel fine. I can see fine. Everything's fine. Nothing's broken."

McCabe is third on the Leafs in blocked shots this season.

"Obviously you'd like to avoid the eyeball but sometimes it happens," the 30-year-old said with a shrug.

"That guy's an absolute warrior," said Reaves. "He had one of the worst months I think I've ever seen in February [with shots and sticks hitting him high] and I remember, towards the end, I said, 'Let's just get through this month and March is going to be a great month for you,' not anticipating April coming in hot. Man, yeah, his face has taken a beating, but he's a warrior."

Per, McCabe has absorbed the second most hits in the NHL this season. He sat out a game for maintenance last week and Keefe pointed out McCabe hasn't been 100 per cent for much of the season.

"Maybe sometimes it helps you play better, at least in my opinion," McCabe said of playing hurt. "It gets you a little pissed off or just on edge. Playing with that tenacity and competitiveness brings the best out of all of us. It's all part of the game. Everyone's dealing with something."

McCabe wasn't sure how many stitches he required on Saturday night.

"I don't know how many stitches his face has taken this season, but it has been a lot," said Keefe. "I don't know if they have been able to talk him into putting on a full shield or not. He just keeps on going."

McCabe has produced a career-high 28 points this season while landing 214 hits, which is second on the team. He's a key part of the penalty kill and currently logs time on the second power play unit.

"He plays in every situation," Reaves raved. "He blocks pucks. He blocks them with his face and goes gets zipped back up and comes right back and does it again. He can play on the power play. He's been one of our best defencemen all year five-on-five, so just an all around very underrated defenceman in this league."


ContentId(1.2104744): 'Warrior' McCabe feels he may play better when hurt: 'Gets you a little pissed off'


Matthews scored goal No. 69 in the second period on Saturday night and fans were buzzing the rest of the way whenever the superstar centre jumped over the boards.

"That was a major distraction," Keefe admitted. "It doesn't help us with what we are trying to accomplish on the ice. But it is exciting. I get it. Especially when he got to 69, it is growing. They're anticipating. Now, you're feeding it. I am feeding it. I want it to happen. I wanted it for the fans. But I am glad the game is over. Let's move on."

Keefe has been trying to manage Matthews' playing time down the stretch, but the Arizona native logged 23 minutes and 59 seconds on Saturday, which was his highest total since Feb. 5.

Matthews, who has scored in eight straight games for the first time in his NHL career, was not made available for an interview after Monday's practice. The 26-year-old has faced a barrage of questions about his goal-scoring exploits during this hot streak.

"I just try to take the same approach every game," he said on Saturday night. "I feel like I've just been repeating myself the last three weeks, but it is what it is."

Matthews' pursuit of history is dominating the coverage these days even for the opposition.

"The story is going to be Auston Matthews chasing 70 goals," Panthers coach Paul Maurice told reporters ahead of Tuesday's tilt. "That's the only story and it really should be. It's the only story and it's a great one."

Matthews scored twice against the Panthers in his last game against Florida on April 1.

"If he gets 70 and, in truth, I hope he does," Maurice told reporters in Florida on Monday. "Not against us, but that is such a unique thing to happen in the NHL in the modern era. It is a great story. You only play 82 games and you score 70 goals? Oh man, that's a hot year, right."

Matthews actually missed one game due to illness so, at most, he'll play 81 games.

No one has scored 70 goals in a season since Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny in 1992-93. Matthews is the first to get to 69 since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96.

"We're not trying to let anybody on their team score, that's the goal, but our guys will be aware of it," Maurice said. "And being that the game potentially doesn't have any other juice in it for us, that will be a good thing to get everyone fired up."

If the Boston Bruins win on Monday night, the Panthers will be locked into second place in the Atlantic Division and a matchup against the Leafs.

"Playing a team that you might face in the playoffs, you got to set the tone for that series," said Reaves. "I know they're going to try to do the same in their barn and we got to match that. We got to outdo that."


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Maurice plans to dress his strongest lineup if Tuesday's game still matters to his team. If it doesn't, the Panthers will look at resting some regulars. Captain and top-line centre Aleksander Barkov missed Monday's practice.

"He just came in stiff this morning and couldn't loosen up so we didn't put him on the ice," Maurice said. "There's no injury from the last game."

The Leafs plan to rest some players in the final game of the regular season on Wednesday.

"Right now, it looks like we will only have 12 healthy forwards going into tomorrow," said Keefe. "We do have some depth on defence. I expect we will use everybody through two games."

Mark Giordano, Conor Timmins and T.J. Brodie were the extra defencemen at Monday's practice. Last season, Timmins played as a forward in a couple late-season games so that a forward could rest.

Matthews sat out one game for load management late in each of the last two seasons.

"In certain situations it's a smart thing to do," said Tavares. "You look at the sport science and it's obviously very advanced, and looking at our recent stretch of hockey, the type of travel that you're going through, someone under the weather a little bit, all those sorts of things can come into play. Our performance staff and medical staff are on top of all those sorts of things and it's something that's become more common ... Yeah, in certain situations it's not always the wrong thing and can be very forward thinking."

But for players chasing individual milestones it can be a tough sell. Nylander is three points shy of becoming the fourth player in franchise history to hit the century mark.

"We got a back-to-back so maybe it could be a good idea," the winger said last week. "I don't know."


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After allowing six goals on 20 shots in a loss to New Jersey on Thursday, Ilya Samsonov got off to a tough start on Saturday night. He allowed four goals on 13 shots in the first period against the Red Wings.

"We discussed taking him out," Keefe revealed. "It wasn't unanimous in there by any means about what to do with it. I felt our team was going to be better, and I felt Sammy needed to be a part of that. I am glad it worked out the way that it did."

Samsonov stopped 18 straight shots as the Leafs rallied from 4-1 down to force overtime. Dylan Larkin scored on a power play to end the game.

"I didn't feel I needed to change something," Samsonov insisted. "I needed to get some mental strength and continue to work."

"He was outstanding," Keefe said. "Ultimately, he is the reason we get a point. He didn't let them get the next goal. I am glad about the way the guys responded."

It's unclear if Samsonov will play again in the regular season. Joseph Woll will start on Tuesday in Florida.

"Woller will go tomorrow, and we will take it from there," Keefe said.



ContentId(1.2104261): Samsonov shakes off tough start: 'Didn't feel I needed to change anything'


For the first time since Keefe took over as coach in the 2019-20 season, the Leafs will open the playoffs on the road. That may be a good thing for this group. Toronto actually has a better record on the road (24-9-6) than at home (22-15-4). Only the Dallas Stars have a better points percentage on the road this season.

"It is difficult to pinpoint why it is," said Keefe. "We just know it is a thing. We have performed well. I think our mindset has been good on the road and maybe not as good at home. Maybe there are different reasons for that. I don't know what you would really be able to grab onto there. I do know we are confident that we can have success wherever we play if we get to our game. We seem to have been able to get to our game more consistently on the road this season."

Toronto allows just 2.82 goals per game on the road (eighth overall) versus 3.41 (29th) at home.

"We just really like how our game's been really poised, whatever the situation or scenario, on the road," said Tavares. "We've handled it really well."

The trend actually started in last year's playoffs when the Leafs went 1-5 at home and 4-1 on the road.

"We've been great on the road," said McCabe. "Last year in playoffs, I don't think many teams won at home. It's one of those weird things. I don't put a lot of weight into it either way, personally. Just got to play the game."


ContentId(1.2104743): Why starting playoffs on the road may actually be a good thing for Leafs


Defenceman Joel Edmundson, who missed Saturday's game due to an undisclosed injury, practiced on the third pair beside Timothy Liljegren on Monday.

"He got through practice today," said Keefe. "We will see where he is at tomorrow just to be sure, but practice was a positive sign for him."


Lines at Monday's practice:

Bertuzzi - Matthews - Marner
Knies - Tavares - Nylander
Robertson - Holmberg - Gregor
Dewar - Kampf - Reaves

Rielly - Lyubushkin
Benoit - McCabe
Edmundson - Liljegren
Giordano - Timmins


Power play units at Monday's practice:


Rielly, Matthews, Tavares, Marner, Nylander


McCabe, Liljegren, Robertson, Gregor, Bertuzzi