May 20, 2022

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Wednesday evening is Michael Bunting’s first Stanley Cup playoff recreation.

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The pesky and prolific winger was considered one of a dozen Maple Leafs skaters who competed in further morning skates on the Scotiabank Enviornment, and coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed Bunting’s spot in Recreation 2 in opposition to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I believe he’ll be a optimistic affect, he is been a optimistic affect on our workforce all through the season,” Keefe stated. “He is an essential a part of our prime line and simply makes us a deeper band.”

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Banting, who led NHL rookies in common season scoring with 63 factors in 79 video games and was third amongst all NHL hockey gamers with 45 missed penalties in all conditions, will return to left flank together with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. .

Banting missed the ultimate three video games of the common season and the Leafs’ 5–0 win in Recreation 1 of the best-of-seven first-round collection in opposition to the Lightning resulting from an undisclosed damage.

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The choice on Keefe’s roster was made for him, as winger Kyle Clifford will serve a one-game suspension imposed by the NHL for internet hosting Tampa’s ahead Ross Colton within the first recreation.

“Like I stated, I did not just like the hit,” Keefe stated. “I do not suppose it was a superb hit. I wasn’t shocked the league stated that.”

How did Tampa’s coach John Cooper react to the disqualification?

“I do not suppose Clifford went there to harm this man,” Cooper stated. I do not suppose he thought this was the end result that was going to occur. I believe that Colton had an opportunity to organize for this, maybe the outcome would have been completely different. He simply did not see it coming.

“I do not suppose Clifford was going to smash his face in opposition to the glass in malice. Based mostly on the way in which issues are going, a suspension might be justified.”

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William Nylander and Pierre Engval will stay with the Leafs after neither skilled on Tuesday.

Nylander stated he missed coaching resulting from a bout of meals poisoning. He obtained sick on the day of the primary recreation, however he obtained via it and was efficient, particularly early within the recreation.

“Want just a little relaxation,” Nylander stated of his absence from coaching. “I used to be sick that day (video games 1).” I believe it was sushi for lunch.

“You possibly can’t let meals poisoning get to you. Now I really feel significantly better.”

The Leafs obtained a lift from their particular groups work within the first leg, scoring one powerplay and one shorthanded purpose to exit with the win.

Tampa are positive to play with extra resilience in Recreation 2, and hold that in thoughts: having received the Stanley Cup in every of the final two seasons, the Lightning have by no means misplaced two in a row in both Cup season.

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“It is a good page-turning band,” Cooper stated. “They dig with their heels when they’re pressed in opposition to the wall.

“We have already got a superb historical past of profitable in recreation two, which isn’t a assure of success tonight, however the goalkeeper finds a approach to set himself up in these conditions.”

In the meantime, Leafs ahead Wayne Simmonds has been named the workforce’s nominee for the 2021-2022 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to the participant “who finest exemplifies management qualities on and off the ice and has made a notable humanitarian contribution to their group.”

Predicted Leafs roster for Recreation 2:

FORWARDS

LW-C-RW

Michael Bunting-Auston Matthews-Mitch Marner

Ilya Mikheev-John Tavares-Alex Kerfoot

William Nylander-David Kampf-Pierre Engval

Ondrej Case-Colin Blackwell-Wayne Simmonds

DEFENSE

Morgan Rilly-Ilya Lyubushkin

Jake Mazzin-T Jay Brody

Mark Giordano-Timothy Lilliegren

GOAL

Jack Campbell

Eric Kallgren

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