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Maple Leafs F Michael Bunting suspended three games

Toronto forward was tossed from Game 1 after an illegal check to the head of Lightning D Erik Cernak.

Michael Bunting #58 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts to being ejected from the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning during Game One of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on April 18, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.     Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs F Michael Bunting was suspended three games for an illegal check to the head and interference on Tampa Bay Lightning D Erik Cernak. The Maple Leafs dropped Game 1 of the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs vs. the Lightning 7-3 on Tuesday night. Bunting was tossed late in the second period and isn’t eligible to return until Game 5 (if necessary).

With Bunting sidelined, the Maple Leafs will be down a forward. With that news, it’s looking like rookie Matthew Knies will make his NHL playoff debut on Thursday in Game 2 in Toronto. Knies left the University of Minnesota after their season ended and signed his contract with the Maple Leafs. He skated on the third line with Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari. Knies was also on the second power-play unit.

Auston Matthews will skate with Mitch Marner and Calle Jarnkrok while John Tavares and William Nylander are with Alexander Kerfoot on the second line. Toronto will really need a big response in Game 2 after allowing four power-play goals, include three straight in the second period.

Despite getting blown out at home in Game 1, the Maple Leafs are favored at -165 on the moneyline on DraftKings Sportsbook for Game 2.