Maple Leafs' Ilya Lyubushkin plays against Bruins after injury scare

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The Boosh is loose.

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Maple Leafs defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin took part in the morning skate on Monday, an indication he would be in the lineup when the Leafs played host to the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Arena.

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Lyubushkin was paired with Morgan Rielly, as he was before he got hurt on Saturday against the New York Rangers.

And sure enough, Lyubushkin was in the lineup versus the Bruins.

“He was feeling good after the game, feeling good again (Sunday), feeling good (Monday), all the protocols he was unable to get through on Saturday, he was able to get through (Sunday and Monday),” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said, acknowledging his relief that Lyubushkin was not seriously hurt. “As it turned out, a lot of the discomfort he was feeling was coming from some neck and shoulder issues that were causing some discomfort in the head, but they got that settled down.”

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Lyubushkin’s immediate future initially didn’t look rosy after he departed from the Leafs’ win following a hit by Rangers rookie Matt Rempe.

“I feel good,” Lyubushkin said after the skate. “I saw he was coming, but I didn’t have time to protect myself. It’s hockey, it happens sometimes.”

Lyubushkin was slammed into the corner boards and Keefe said after the game that Lyubushkin, who did not play in the third period, had suffered a head injury. There was no penalty to Rempe on the play.

It was Lyubushkin’s first game with the Leafs after he was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

“It just looked like it was flowing well,” Keefe said of the defence pairs against the Rangers, before Lyubushkin got hurt. “In talking to (assistant coach) Mike Van Ryn (who runs the Leafs defence), he felt good about all three pairs being able to basically play against anybody, the lefty-righty pieces seemed to help Rielly and (TJ) Brodie.

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“It was very encouraging, what we saw. Boosh, despite the fact he was working on four or five hours sleep and a three-hour time change after a big trade, had no practice with us, he stepped in and looked very comfortable.”

Still, Leafs general manager Brad Treliving will continue to try to add another defenceman before the National Hockey League trade deadline hits on Friday at 3 p.m.

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No surprise to see winger Calle Jarnkrok with his usual hustle and determination against the Rangers, the first action for the forward after he missed 13 games with a broken knuckle.

Because of the nature and location of the injury, Jarnkrok resumed skating a couple of weeks after it happened.

“Because I couldn’t use my hands (initially), I worked a lot with (Leafs skating consultant) Paul (Matheson),” Jarnkrok said. “We made small tweaks here and there. If you’re going to take something positive from (missing time), it’s that.

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“The only positive thing about being away was getting to work on some other stuff that you don’t normally have time for during the season.”

Jarnkrok was hurt in practice on Jan. 26 when he was hit by a shot by teammate Timothy Liljegren.

“When it happens in practice, it feels a little unnecessary (as opposed to coming in the heat of a game),” Jarnkrok said. “Just bad luck.”

Jarnkrok was buoyed when the Leafs went 10-3-0 while he recovered.

“It always sucks when you’re on the outside, but we kept winning pretty much every game, so that made it a little easier for sure,” Jarnkrok said.

The line of captain John Tavares between Bobby McMann and Jarnkrok, a trio that got another look against Boston, was effective against the Rangers.

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Jarnkrok recorded his 300th point in the NHL when he assisted on a goal by Tavares, and he played 17 minutes 11 seconds, higher than his season average of 15 minutes 20 seconds.

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Keefe shed more light on the benching on Saturday of William Nylander, who did not see the ice for the remainder of the first period after he blew an assignment in the defensive zone, helping lead to a goal by New York’s Alexis Lafreniere. “As we have talked about different times, we’re increasing the accountability of all of our players in these situations. Each situation is different. Each mistake is different. Some are well-intentioned and the play doesn’t execute the way you want it to and something goes wrong. In some cases, it’s purposely stepping outside of the structure and the system and to me, that’s what it was the other night. In general, there is less tolerance from my end on mistakes such as that one with William, whether it’s him or anyone else. And I was a little more sensitive given I met specifically with that line (on Friday) about those types of things.” Also, it had to be discouraging for Keefe to see that from Nylander, who is seen as the leader and driver on the line with Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi … Tim Ecclestone, who played in 55 games in two seasons (including playoffs) with the Leafs during the mid-1970s, passed away recently at the age of 76. The Toronto native was a forward who played in 692 NHL games with four teams, including the St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto and Atlanta Flames in a career that lasted from 1967-78 … The Leafs will hold their 44th annual Easter Seals skate on March 15 at the Ford Performance Centre … The Toronto Marlies will have a school-day game on Wednesday when they play host to the Belleville Senators at 11 a.m. at the Coca-Cola Coliseum.

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