The Toronto Maple Leafs’ 8-4 loss to the Florida Panthers on Sunday evening ended up being a lot worse than just an ugly final score.
It also cost them their top defenseman for the next two months.
The Maple Leafs announced on Monday that Morgan Rielly is going to be sidelined for at least the next eight weeks after fracturing his foot in Sunday’s game.
He will immediately be placed on injured reserve and re-evaluated in eight weeks.
The team also announced that Rasmus Sandin, their first-round pick in 2018, has been recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.
A questionable defense gets even worse
There is no way to sugarcoat this for the Maple Leafs, it is a significant loss.
They are already thin on the blue line and were probably going to need add another player before the trade deadline even when they were healthy. Now they are going to have to find a way to replace their best defenseman for two months in the middle of a playoff push. Adding to their problems is that Jake Muzzin, one of their other top defensemen, is also currently sidelined on a week-to-week basis due to a foot injury of his own.
Sandin is a fine prospect and has been having a great season in the AHL, but the Maple Leafs’ defense is in shambles right now.
That is, quite simply, not a very good NHL defense. Especially for a team that is supposed to be a Stanley Cup contender. They are going to need a huge push from Frederik Andersen in goal to mask that.
Edmonton Oilers defenseman Martin Marincin and forward Andrew Miller had a night they won’t soon forget. In what would be the start of a three-goal first period rally for the Oilers, Miller set up Marincin who flung the puck top shelf to beat Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov:
The question is, which one of them gets to keep the puck as a memento? Their solution was to cut it in half:
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that,” Miller told the Edmonton Sun. “I’ve never gotten half a puck before, but I’ll take it.”
Edmonton went on to earn a 4-3 victory over Colorado. It’s been months since the Oilers even had the faintest hope of making the postseason, but the way they’ve been playing lately, they might end the season on a high note. The Oilers’ 3-1-1 run is their best stretch since they won four straight contests from Oct. 20-27. It has also likely put them out of the running for 30th place as they’re now eight points ahead of Buffalo.