Maple Leafs open series vs. Bruins minus Nylander

NHL

BOSTON — Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander sat out Game 1 of his club’s first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins on Saturday due to an undisclosed injury.

Nylander, who hasn’t skated with the team since Thursday, did not take the ice for warmups at TD Garden. Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe has not revealed any details about Nylander’s ailment, which reportedly flared up after the Maple Leafs’ regular-season finale on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Nylander is coming off a career-best 98-point campaign and is a staple among Toronto’s top six forwards. He also is on the Maple Leafs’ No. 1 power-play unit.

While Keefe did not confirm Nylander’s status earlier in the day, his teammates appeared resigned to playing without him.

“[It’s] tough for him, but hopefully, he won’t miss too much and he’ll be back,” Toronto defenseman Timothy Liljegren said. “[It’s] hard to replace Willy. But we’ve had guys step up when guys go down all year, so it will be no different this time.”

Nylander was the only Maple Leafs player to dress in all 82 regular-season games, and he hadn’t missed a contest in three years.

With Nylander unavailable, Calle Jarnkrok is expected to slide into his power-play spot, and Nicholas Robertson will step onto Toronto’s third line.

The 22-year-old Robertson figures to be an odd man out when the Maple Leafs are at full strength, but he has earned a chance after appearing in 56 regular-season games and finishing with 27 points. Keefe on Saturday deemed Robertson’s progress “significant,” even from a bottom-six position.

“He works for everything he has,” Keefe said. “He doesn’t need many scoring opportunities.”

Robertson accrued his only other NHL playoff experience when he debuted with the Maple Leafs in the postseason bubble in 2020. There were no fans in attendance then, as Robertson scored his first-ever goal.

Robertson didn’t expect the atmosphere to be quite so docile when Toronto and Boston kicked things off on Saturday, and he was thrilled to potentially be taking part in it.

“It’s everything,” he said. “It’s one of the things you’d see when you’re a kid, and you want to play in these environments. To be with the Leafs and play Boston in the first game? Nothing better than that.”

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