The Toronto Maple Leafs, already in tough against the Washington Capitals, will be without top-pairing defenseman Nikita Zaitsev for Game 1 tomorrow in DC.
Zaitsev was hurt in the Leafs’ final game of the season on Sunday. The way he wobbled off the ice after taking a hit from Nick Foligno, it looked like it could be a concussion — though head coach Mike Babcock wouldn’t say today if that was the case.
“The great thing about this medical department is I don’t deal with that part,” said Babcock. “They just tell me he’s not available to go. He’s got an upper-body injury.”
Zaitsev, 25, had four goals and 32 assists in 82 games this season, paired mostly with Morgan Rielly.
Martin Marincin will draw in for Zaitsev.