Maple Leafs’ Nylander moves to centre with Kadri suspension looming

Nazem Kadri

Nazem Kadri

Winger William Nylander will take Nazem Kadri's place at center on Toronto's third line when the Maple Leafs host the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of their first-round series Monday night.

The latest transgression by Kadri, who has been suspended four times (a total of 14 games) by the National Hockey League previously, happened in the third period of Game 2 of the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs on Saturday in Boston. The NHL has the option to suspend him for more than five games.

The two would once again meet up in the third period.

Kadri's and Babcock's future in doubt? "One of our (strengths) is depth through the middle". Most notably, their storied past includes the invention of "The Avery Rule" after the temperamental winger purposely obstructed the netminder's view in lieu of trying to make an actual play. Boston has scored just five goals in their first two games of this series, but they have still averaged a solid 3.80 gpg over their last 10 games.

The Leafs centre was banned three games for boarding in the opener of last spring's series with the Bruins, and is facing his eighth hearing with the league since 2013.

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The Leafs didn't practise on Sunday, taking the day to catch their collective breath after getting beaten soundly hours earlier.

"To be honest with you, when you come in here, initially you're hoping you probably get a split", Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.

If they do not advance, his absence might be a big reason why.

"For me to sit back the next day and evaluate that, that's not in my control".

Kadri meanwhile, is likely to be suspended for the rest of the series. The same way he did with the NHL, Nazem Kadri has made the decision to cut him loose from the only big-league team he has ever known an easy one. The Maple Leafs didn't. Kadri is a repeat offender and obviously hasn't learned his lesson.

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Not only was Kadri briefly knocked out of the game due to a controversial open-ice hit by DeBrusk, but DeBrusk hit Patrick Marleau into the turnbuckle just prior to the cross-check. Before that, Kadri was penalized when another player punched him in the face, and DeBrusk went unpenalized for kneeing - a play which, if called, would have had him out of the game in the second period.

"I moved around a lot because of my dad", said DeBrusk. When you prepare your team, you try to prepare them for all situations, so you don't cross the line. Frederik Andersen played another incredible game, but his efforts were wasted by another poor effort from his team.

"I think the edge for anybody is a little different".

"In saying that, no matter what the distractions are off the ice, we agreed as a group we would keep it internally and I think that helps especially when things get out of hand". You have to own your play, you have to own your discipline, you have to own what's going on.

The crowd was electric before the national anthems were played, thanks to the presence of recently retired New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who waved the fan banner in a pregame ceremony that had the building rocking.

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