If it was a regular-season game, Rasmus Sandin’s miscues Thursday wouldn’t lead to him being removed from the starting lineup.

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Rasmus Sandin earned a spot in the Leafs’ lineup with his offence, and could lose it because of defensive miscues.

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Rasmus Sandin earned a spot in the Leafs’ lineup with his offence, and could lose it because of defensive miscues.

If it was a regular-season game, Rasmus Sandin’s miscues Thursday wouldn’t lead to him being removed from the starting lineup.

But Sandin’s status on the Maple Leafs’ blue line is at least being discussed before Game 6 of their first-round series with Montreal on Saturday night.

Sandin, playing in just his fourth career playoff game Thursday, made a pair of costly mistakes that led directly to two Montreal goals, and the Game 5 gaffes are sure to factor into the roster decisions of Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe as his team attempts to clinch the series on its second attempt.

“As a young defenceman, you’re going to make mistakes,” Leafs defenceman Zach Bogosian said. “You’re going to make mistakes if you’ve played 20 years in the league. I guess the response would be just to go out there and do what makes him good, and we’re confident he’ll be better.

“Hockey is a game of mistakes. You learn from them, you learn when to park it. Now is not the time to dwell too much with a big game (Saturday). He’s a confident guy who can make plays. We’re not worried about him.”

Sandin was used sparingly after his mistakes in Game 5, on the ice for just two shifts over the final 15 minutes of the second period and one shift in the third. The final shift was with T.J. Brodie, an 11-year NHL veteran who has not been scored on over the 106 minutes he has played in the series.

Sandin earned a spot on the blue line with his offensive potential, and scored a power-play goal in Game 2. But the 21-year-old has also been on the ice for three of Montreal’s eight goals in the series.

Keefe wasn’t making any decision on Sandin on Friday, though he admitted the young defenceman’s spot in the lineup was being discussed. He swapped Sandin for the more experienced Travis Dermott in Game 4.

There is pressure on the coach and the players to eliminate Montreal and erase the narrative surrounding the Leafs’ run of opening-round exits.

“We found a way to score three goals (Thursday), that should be enough to win in the playoffs,” Keefe said, pointing to the Leafs’ mistakes at the other end. “They scored three unassisted goals. Two were actually unassisted, but the overtime goal for me was unassisted as well. So that’s three of their four goals …

“We gifted them offence. That’s obviously something we can’t afford to do in the playoffs. Clean that up, and we score enough to win the hockey game.”

Sandin’s mistakes stemmed from hits and positioning in puck battles. As a team, the Leafs had their worst game of the playoffs in terms of puck battles. In data collected by Sportlogiq, they lost battles in all three zones, with Montreal holding a 55-43 edge. Toronto had the advantage in the first four games.

Sandin ultimately should learn from his mistakes. He is still viewed as a potential top-four defenceman next season.

“That’s part of playoffs, you will have ups and downs,” said Bogosian, who was part of Tampa’s Stanley Cup-winning team last season. “We controlled the chunk of the series for a while, and (the Canadiens) had a good push back.

“That’s the beauty of playoff hockey — you’re not doing the right thing if you don’t have pressure. We need to go in there and play Game 6 like it's our Game 7.”

Mark Zwolinski is a Toronto-based sports reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @markzwol