The Toronto Maple Leafs had their practice on a rare Saturday afternoon after a loss to Ottawa last night and ahead of Sunday’s game against Washington.
Second Line Centre
Auston Matthews is out of the lineup for about three weeks (conveniently just long enough for the All-Star break) which has sparked some difficulties with the forward lineup. Pontus Holmberg was initially moved up to the second line to play with Nylander and Järnkrok, but it quickly didn’t work and he was shuffled back to the fourth line. Alex Kerfoot, the tried and true option, came in and did much better. He stayed in that spot today.
Lines at Leafs practice— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) January 28, 2023
Bunting - Tavares - Marner
Jarnkrok - Kerfoot - Nylander
Engvall - Kampf - Anderson
Aston-Reese - Holmberg - Simmonds
Rielly - Brodie
Giordano - Holl
Sandin - Liljegren
Benn - Timmins @TSN_Edge
Matt Murray re-aggravated an injury that was nagging him in warm ups last night — it wasn’t the high shot from Nylander, according to multiple players and staff. He didn’t skate today and his status is currently in the air. Also not on the ice was Ilya Samsonov, who normally doesn’t skate after a start.
The Toronto Marlies played last night, Joseph Woll stopping 30 of 31 for the win in Winnipeg. The AHL team is staying in Winnipeg for the rematch on Sunday afternoon, so it could take up to 3-5 business days to horse carriage someone back to Toronto for the game tomorrow. Jokes aside, because the Marlies have a day off between games it’s reasonable they could send either goalie up to Toronto and start the other without much issue. However, carrier pigeoning Keith Petruzzelli from Newfoundland to Manitoba may take several months.
The plan appears to be Samsonov getting the start against his former team on Sunday. The situation is leaning towards Matt Murray not being available off the bench. I’d say Joseph Woll has earned the call-up considering he’s on an 11-game winning streak, has only lost once this season, and boasts a .928 save percentage. That last night number actually isn’t as high as I would’ve thought considering all the winning, but the truth is the Marlies are among the league leaders in goals. Is Woll having his Garret Sparks season? That’s a discussion for another day.
Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray are absent from Leafs practice @TSN_Edge— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) January 28, 2023
Sheldon Keefe says this Matt Murray issue isn't related to the adductor injury that sidelined the goalie earlier this season— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) January 28, 2023
William Nylander said his high shot in warm-up didn't cause the injury: "He said he was fine after that. It was nothing with that shot."@TSN_Edge
Ilya Samsonov will play in a seventh straight game for the Leafs tomorrow— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) January 28, 2023
Rubber match against his old team
Matt Murray dealing with an ankle injury and undergoing tests today to determine outlook @TSN_Edge
As you can see from the lineup above, TJ Brodie was back at practice in his regular lineup spot on the top pair next to Morgan Rielly. Signs point to Brodie returning to the lineup if all goes well in the next 27 hours (yes, it’s a 5pm start). It’ll be really good to have him back.
TJ Brodie says he feels good to play tomorrow. Ultimately decision comes to coaching and medical staff. @BodogCA @RinkWideTOR— David Alter (@dalter) January 28, 2023
Last but not least, I can’t believe it’s here already. John Tavares is going to be skating in his 1000th career NHL regular season game tomorrow night at home and his 331st as a Leaf. In his 999-game career, Tavares has 412 goals, 532 assists for 944 points and becomes the 375th player in league history to play a millennium of games. He will beat Jordie Benn’s brother Jamie Benn to 1000 by one day because Dallas’ next game isn’t until Monday. Thank you, football season.
Tavares should pass several Leafs legends in all-time games played by the end of the season, including Tomas Plekanec, Matt Stajan, Todd Gill, Steve Sullivan, Alex Steen, and Mike Foligno. And by next season, we’ll get to see Tavares join the elite group of less than 100 players with 1000 points.
John Tavares says he has 60-70 family and friends attending his 1000th NHL game tomorrow. “The most I’ve ever had” at a game. He says.— David Alter (@dalter) January 28, 2023