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Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin out for remainder of preliminary round series

TORONTO — The Maple Leafs say defenceman Jake Muzzin has been discharged from hospital and is back at the team's hotel, but will not return to the lineup during Toronto's playoff qualification series with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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TORONTO — The Maple Leafs say defenceman Jake Muzzin has been discharged from hospital and is back at the team's hotel, but will not return to the lineup during Toronto's playoff qualification series with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Maple Leafs said in a statement that Muzzin will remain in quarantine within the hotel and "look to rejoin his teammates upon recovery."

Muzzin was injured late in the third period of Toronto's 3-0 win over Columbus on Tuesday.

With the Leafs killing a penalty, Muzzin took a crosscheck from Columbus centre Pierre-Luc Dubois before stumbling and jamming his head/neck into the leg of Blue Jackets winger Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The bruising blue-liner couldn't get up after the collision and had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher after a delay of around 15 minutes. Players from both teams tapped their sticks in support as Muzzin was assisted off the playing surface.

"That was the first time I've ever seen him need medical attention on the ice," said Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford, who also played with Muzzin when the two were members of the Los Angeles Kings. "It was a scary moment, but he's a mentally strong guy. He's a big tough, kid. We're just hoping for speedy recovery."

The best-of-five series, which is tied at one win each, resumes Thursday night at Scotiabank Arena.

Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said defenceman Martin Marincin will get some ice time with Muzzin out. Marincin practised in a pairing with Tyson Barrie on Wednesday. Toronto could also add Rasmus Sandin and dress seven defenceman.

Travis Dermott is expected to move the lineup to play with Justin Holl, Muzzin's usual partner.

Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly said losing Muzzin was "obviously tough."

"He's a huge part of our team and a huge part of our back end," Rielly said. "It's important that we have guys that are willing to take on more responsibility. I don't think you can replace what he does for our team, but I think it's important to have other guys help fill that void.

"He really offers a lot, but I think it's a good opportunity for guys to play more minutes, to play in different situations and rise to the occasion."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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