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Leafs' Nylander, Brodie take line rushes; Matthews has off day after illness

William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs William Nylander - Getty Images

The William Nylander watch continued Friday as the injured winger was one of the first members of the Toronto Maple Leafs to hit the ice ahead of practice. 

After taking regular line rushes and participating in power play drills in practice, Nylander could not confirm his playing status for Saturday's Game 4 against the Boston Bruins in Toronto. 

“I don’t know, we’ll see,” he told the media. 

Nylander wouldn't reveal the reason for his absence so far in the first-round series. 

"Look, that's just personal so I'm not going to get into that, but anything else you guys want to discuss," he said.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe said that Nylander looked "great" during practice and they will determine his status on Saturday. 

Maple Leafs star centre Auston Matthews was not at practice on Friday with the team calling it a "maintenance day."

TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reports that Matthews played through an illness in Game 3. The 26-year-old American has one goal and two assists this postseason, all occurring during a Game 2 victory in Boston. 

"Things are OK. He needed another day today just to try to help restore his energy and recharge and all those kind of things," Keefe said in regards to Matthews. 

Defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin, who was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the trade deadline, was also absent from practice after his wife gave birth to a baby girl in California. 

"He’s on his way back," explained Keefe. "We’ll see how he’s feeling tomorrow and make a determination from there"

The Maple Leafs trail the Bruins 2-1 in their opening round series and will host Game 4 at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night. 

Nylander, Brodie set for series debuts?

Nylander skated on the third line beside Calle Jarnkrok and Pontus Holmberg while defenceman T.J. Brodie, who hasn't played this postseason, was on the third pairing alongside Joel Edmundson.

Nylander also took reps on the top power play unit for the first time since his injury.

"The games are crazy to watch from home. I’ve never been so nervous in my life, but I think the guys are doing a great job and tomorrow’s a big game," Nylander told the media.

Timothy Liljegren, who is minus-2 in three games, filled in for Lyubushkin, while Connor Dewar filled Matthews' spot as Nick Robertson dropped into his place on the fourth line. Dewar has one assist in three games against the Bruins.

Maple Leafs' Practice Lines - Mark Masters, TSN 


Bertuzzi - Dewar - Domi
Knies - Tavares - Marner
Nylander - Holmberg - Jarnkrok
Robertson - Kampf - Reaves


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



After playing all 82 games for the second straight season, the 27-year-old Swede has missed the opening three games of the playoffs with an unknown injury. 

Keefe said on Thursday that having two days off before Saturday's Game 4 can only benefit Nylander. 

"The more time the better," Keefe told the media. "We’ve been working with Willy to give him the time that he needs to be ready to play."

Nylander's has been one of the Toronto's best playoff performers over the past few years, scoring 17 goals and 23 assists over 50 career postseason games. 

Nylander posted the best regular season numbers of his career in 2023-24 with 40 goals and 58 assists.