Lucas Viveiros | Report
The Toronto Maple Leafs emerged victorious on Saturday night by defeating the Winnipeg Jets 3-2, but not without a cost, as the Leafs lost their superstar Auston Matthews to a shoulder injury.
Matthews left the game after his left shoulder collided hard with Jets d-man Jacob Trouba early in the second period, and did not return.
He is expected to miss a minimum of up to four weeks.
Toronto trailed the game 1-0 at the time of the injury, due to a power-play goal by youngster Kyle Connor, midway through the first period.
The power-play tally by Connor marked the eighth straight game that Winnipeg has converted on the man advantage.
Winnipeg would add to their lead midway through the middle period, as Nazem Kadri decided to get cute at the Jets blue line, and as a result was poke checked by Scheifele who converted on a breakaway.
The Jets seemed to be on cruise control up to this point in the game, slowing the Leafs forwards down through the neutral zone, and playing less of a speed game which Toronto prefers.
That changed in the third period however, as without Matthews coach Babcock was forced to juggle with line combinations to get his players going.
The biggest beneficiary to this, Nazem Kadri who got the crowd alive again 6:33 into the third period when he connected on a slick pass from Mitch Marner.
Toronto would finally begin to dictate the pace of the game, and took control of it for themselves, fore-checking relentlessly on the Jets d-men and causing turnovers.
Dustin Byfuglien would turn the puck over at a costly time with just over three minutes to play in regulation, as Marner pressed him hard forcing the turnover, and passed one in front of the net where Jake Gardiner in his 500th NHL game would naught the game at two.
The shot came hard and was difficult to track for Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who played a strong road game, shutting the offensive potent Leafs down for the majority of it.
Twenty-six seconds later Toronto proved they had what it took to wrap this one up in regulation, as Kasperi Kapanen found the tiniest of openings, just over the left shoulder of Hellebuyck, squeaking one through to give the Leafs the 3-2 win.
It was a huge comeback victory for Toronto, without Auston Matthews, and winning back-to-back games over the Winnipeg Jets.
Revisit all of the game’s highlights below.
Next the Maple Leafs will play host to the Calgary Flames, and welcome “Johnny Hockey” to Toronto on Monday evening.
Puck drop is set for 7:00pm from Scotiabank Arena, and can be seen on Sportsnet.
More news from the ice
- Auston Matthews suffered a similar injury last season with his right shoulder where he missed a month
- The Leafs went 11-7-2 without Auston Matthews in the lineup last season
- The “Mar-Kad-Mar” line as it was dubbed last season, featuring Patrick Marleau, Nazem Kadri, and Mitch Marner is expected to be reunited without Matthews a part of the lineup
- “The Hockey Song” by Stompin’ Tom Connors was recognized into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame before the game
- Jake Gardiner and Tyler Ennis both played their 500th NHL game’s
- Nazem Kadri will skate in his 500th NHL game Monday
Out of town scoreboard
Saturday October 27
Florida 2 New Jersey 3
NY Islanders 6 Philadelphia 1
Edmonton 5 Nashville 3
Washington 4 Calgary 3 (SO)
Montreal 3 Boston 0
Buffalo 4 Columbus 5 (OT)
Chicago 3 St. Louis 7
Colorado 2 Minnesota 3
Tampa Bay 1 Arizona 7
Pittsburgh 5 Vancouver 0
More coverage to follow. Image from CBC Sports.