Free-falling Leafs lose Lupul (knee surgery) for three weeks

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Having already absorbed numerous blows to their playoff lives, the Maple Leafs received another one on Monday as the club learned Joffrey Lupul would miss the next three weeks to undergo knee surgery.

Lupul, who missed last Thursday’s big OT win over Boston, returned for Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Winnipeg but was ineffective, finishing minus-1 in just over 12 minutes of action. Prior to getting hurt, Lupul sat third on the team in goals (22) and was averaging 18:28 TOI per game, so losing his services for the final three regular season games will be tough.

Toronto heads into tonight’s action three points back of Columbus for the final wild card spot in the East, with the Jackets holding a game in hand.

On a larger scale, one has to wonder if the Leafs have any regrets for the five-year, $26.25 million extension they gave Lupul last January. The 30-year-old had major injury concerns prior to signing, and has had more health issues since — he missed 30 games last season with a broken forearm and concussion, and has been sidelined for 10 games this year with knee, foot and groin problems.