Sport

Bruins-Leafs: William Nylander will step in at center for Game 3

Bruins-Leafs: William Nylander will step in at center for Game 3”

It didn't take long after Game 2 between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs for Nazem Kadri to find out he will likely be missing time for a cross-check to the head of Jake DeBrusk. The key word being was.

Game 5 is set for Friday back at TD Garden.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were outhit, outskated, outshot, outscored, outclassed. The pair wrestled on the ice in the first and were assessed two minutes each for roughing, with DeBrusk punching Kadri in the face. Control momentum in the first period.

The real issue started near the end of the second period. Kadri is starting to get quite a rap sheet.

Muzzin crushed Torey Krug along the boards midway through the period on a hit that sent the wobbly Bruins defenceman to Boston's locker room. He did return for the final frame. During the regular season, Toronto ranked 8th in the league in power play conversions at 21.8% and 17th in penalty kill at 79.9%. He plays a valuable third-line role for Toronto.

Kadri broke Rask's shutout bid on a deflection at 10:44, but in a moment of madness cross-checked DeBrusk after the Bruins winger hit Patrick Marleau into the curved glass at the end of the bench. Kadri assumedly went to the defence of his 39-year-old linemate, but instead of dropping the gloves or getting into another shoving match, Kadri saw red and planted his stick into Debrusk's jaw.

Kadri was banned three games for boarding on Bruins winger Tommy Wingels the opener of last year's first-round series with the Bruins.

Krug left Saturday's Game 2 after taking a heavy hit and losing his helmet. Players who are to be disciplined five games or less are given the chance to do a hearing over the phone. The B's will also be without Marcus Johansson, an effective bottom-six forward, for the second game in a row due to illness.

Kadri certainly won't get the benefit of the doubt with his suspension history.

Babcock said if Kadri, who has already been suspended four times in his career, is indeed forced to the sidelines, either Nylander or Marleau will move to centre on the third line behind Matthews and Tavares. Some will argue that Debrusk made knee-to-knee contact with Kadri earlier in the game.

It appears as though Kadri could sit out the remaining games of this series.

During the game, the refereeing was a topic of conversation - on one side more than the other. The referees, the way they reffed the game - let a lot of stuff go, obviously.

Despite the individual opinions on the job of the referees, the Bruins were the better team on the night. It's time for the NHL Department of Player safety to make it hurt. Boston bounced back in game two with a solid 4-1 win and will now be looking to grab back their home-ice advantage with a win in this one.

Mike Babcock is ready to forge on without Nazem Kadri.

Especially since those hockey talents make him so valuable that the Maple Leafs cannot afford to lose him when he inevitably does resort to those shenanigans that get him removed from the lineup.



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