The Toronto Maple Leafs are fighting off elimination as they face the Tampa Bay Lightning, but they’ll do so without a key forward.
Dave Bolland (ankle) is unable to play tonight. The team announced that Paul Ranger is also missing the game while Carter Ashton, Jerry D’Amigo and Colton Orr return to the lineup.
Some wonder if we’ll see Bolland, 27, play again this season.
In case you’re wondering, the Leafs could be eliminated two ways tonight:
- By losing in regulation while the Columbus Blue Jackets gain a point.
- If they lose in OT or a shootout, the Blue Jackets win and the Detroit Red Wings gain a point.
The Maple Leafs will need to dig deep, and even then, they’ll need plenty of help to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Jonathan Bernier’s recent struggles with injury continue.
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ goalie left Thursday’s game against the Boston Bruins in the third period with a lower-body injury, and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Friday, according to Arash Madani of Sportsnet. On March 13, Bernier left a game against the L.A. Kings also because of a lower-body injury that kept him out until March 25, when he returned to Toronto’s lineup.
The Leafs, fighting for their playoff lives, were still able to get the overtime win over the Bruins, despite coughing up a two-goal third-period lead and James Reimer’s relief appearance.
“We needed that and he needed that,” Leafs’ head coach Randy Carlyle said of Reimer afterwards, according to Mark Masters of TSN.
Added Leafs’ defenseman Paul Ranger, who pushed a Patrice Bergeron on top of Bernier, appearing to cause the injury, to hockey reporter Dhiren Mahiban: “He’s a key part of us. I hope that everything is ok. I don’t know what’s going to happen here.”
Lightning forward Alex Killorn won’t face any supplemental discipline for his hit on Toronto defenseman Paul Ranger during Wednesday’s 5-3 win, per the Canadian Press.
Killorn received a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct for his actions, while Ranger spent considerable time laying prone on the ice before being carted off via stretcher. He left the game and was sent to hospital, where he was reported to be both conscious and in stable condition.
Following the game, Killorn apologized for the hit but said he was unsure what he should’ve done differently.
“I’m going in to hit him, and he makes a quick turn,” Killorn said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m already committed at that point. I’m trying to think of what else I could have done to prevent that.
“It’s just a tough, quick, bang-bang play.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Some might be weary of a reunion like Zach Parise will experience with the New Jersey Devils, but he simply thinks it will be fun. (NHL.com)
The Chicago Blackhawks put together a great video on Michal Handzus’ 1,000th game last night:
One Toronto Maple Leafs fan passed along his best wishes for Paul Ranger, who was in a scary collision last night:
Wunderkind Connor McDavid is revving up interest in the Erie Otters. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Darryl Sutter believes that Jarret Stoll might become a good NHL coach some day. (LA Kings Insider)
Look away Dallas Stars fans: a retrospective regarding the James Neal, Matt Niskanen and Alex Goligoski trade. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
All you could ask for regarding Sean Couturier’s beard. (Flyers)
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn smashed Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Paul Ranger into the end boards with 4.1 seconds remaining in the first period of Wednesday’s game.
Ranger was knocked to the ice and had to be taken off in a stretcher. Rather than finish the period, the officials sent both teams to the dressing room early. That time was made up when the team’s returned after the intermission.
Update: The Toronto Maple Leafs have reported that Ranger has been taken to the hospital as a precaution. He is both conscious and in stable condition.
Killorn received a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct as punishment for his actions. Whether or not he’ll be suspended is another matter. It’s worth noting that Ranger appeared to turn just before Killorn made contact.
You can watch the hit below: