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Plekanec gets promoted, Moore replaces Komarov; Game 3 - Leafs vs. Bruins

April 16, 2018, 2:42 PM ET [1521 Comments]
Mike Augello
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With Nazem Kadri unavailable and Patrick Marleau’s move to the middle on Saturday not getting great results, the Toronto Maple Leafs are turning towards Tomas Plekanec to draw upon his vast experience facing the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup first round series.

The 35-year-old veteran center was acquired in part because of his playoff experience and with Kadri suspended for the next two games, Plekanec will take up the suspended center’s spot between Marleau and Mitch Marner.

“Right now, it is about one game, one period at a time, one shift at a time, that’s what I’m focused on right now.” Plekanec said after the morning skate on Monday.

Part of the reason for the move may be to match Plekanec against countryman David Krejci. The two were matched up against each other in two Bruins - Montreal Canadiens series in 2011 and 2014 that went to seven games and members of the Boston media confirmed that the former Hab was an annoying presence to the Bruins second line center.

Winger Leo Komarov was not on the ice at Air Canada Centre Monday morning after suffering a lower body injury in a collision with Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller in Game 2. Although ruled out for Game 3, Leafs head coach Mike Babcock indicated that the feisty winger will skate on Tuesday and Wednesday and could return for Game 4 on Thursday.

Dominic Moore will be the only lineup change for Toronto, taking Komarov’s place on the fourth line, skating between wingers Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen and likely replacing him on the Leafs penalty killing unit, which has allowed five power plays in the series.

“That’s why we’ve made the decision to do what we’re doing.” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said on Monday. “It is because of (Plekanec’s) experience and any time you lose a center, suddenly (Moore) is coming in and (Plekanec is) moving spots, it makes us a different lineup, but that’s why you have depth.”

While the roster tinkering and line juggling may have some effect on the outcome, for the Leafs to get back into the series, they will need their top players in Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander to break out, the defense to establish some sense of control in their own zone and goaltender Frederik Andersen to return to the form that he showed most of the regular season.

Andersen was pulled after 12 minutes on Saturday after allowing three goals on five shots and has the worst goals-against-average (6.65) and second-worst save percentage (.822) of any goalie in the playoffs.

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