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Sheldon Keefe provides alarming update on Leafs' roster ahead of tilt with Rangers


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Ryan Smitheram
December 12, 2023  (12:46)
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The Toronto Maple Leafs made the short trip from Long Island down to Manhattan for the second half of their New York back-to-back as they take on the New York Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Leafs lost 4-3 in OT to the Islanders last night, tarnishing John Tavares special night, recording his 1000th point.

Tonight's game will be the Leafs' third game in four days and the Leafs opted to forego the usual morning skate as a result. Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe did, however, reveal a pair of lineup changes and noted that there could be more on the way. Keefe confirmed that Martin Jones will make his first start as a Maple Leaf, giving Ilya Samsonov the night off after playing two games in three days. Additionally, Bobby McMann will draw back into the lineup for Ryan Reaves. This will be McMann's first game since November 30th against the Seattle Kraken.
Keefe admitted that, while those two changes are confirmed, there could be a handful of other changes as puck drop approaches due to players battling the flu. Ilya Samsonov and William Lagesson recently got over their bouts with the illness, but now it appears to have taken over the Leafs' dressing room. With a few more players sick in the forward group and on the blueline, we may even see the Leafs revert to an 11 forward, 7 defenseman lineup depending on how sick everyone is.
If the Leafs are forced to play shorthanded tonight, it would be less than ideal, but they will be back at home on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, so if any illnesses should persist, at least they'll be in close enough proximity to the Marlies to be able to recall someone if needed.
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Sheldon Keefe provides alarming update on Leafs' roster ahead of tilt with Rangers

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