UPDATE - Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe says Hyman has a sprained MCL and will be out a minimum of two weeks.
The Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks was an example of how important goaltending is in hockey, as veteran Braden Holtby stood on his head in a 37-save effort, keeping his COVID ravaged club in the game while Jack Campbell lost his third straight start at Rogers Arena on Sunday.
William Nylander and Auston Matthews staked Toronto to a 2-0 lead in the second period, but Campbell allowed Bo Horvat to get Vancouver on the board on a short side goal late in the middle frame, and the Canucks team captain to beat him in the same spot 79 seconds into extra time to hand the Leafs their fourth straight loss.
Toronto did earn a point to increase their North Division lead to four points, but the result of the game was secondary to the concern for Leafs winger Zach Hyman, who left the game in the second period after a knee-on-knee hit from Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler.
Edler collided with Hyman near the Leafs bench at the end of a nearly three minute shift. The winger was helped to the bench, limped to the Toronto dressing room and did not return to the game, and on Monday the Canucks blueliner was suspended for two games by the NHL Department of Player Safety.
“We just hope he is okay. (Zach is) such an integral part of our group. The elements that he brings to our team, you can’t replace that.” Leafs captain John Tavares said after the game, “He’s battled through so many things since my time being here. The competitor that he is, it’s impressive. He obviously plays such a key role for us. I know he was really positive in the room, very optimistic.”
The collision was on Hyman’s right knee, which was surgically repaired in 2019 after tearing his ACL in the first round series vs. Boston. It appeared that the momentum of Edler may have been slowed by the winger’s stick and according to TSN commentator Ray Ferraro, it is likely that Hyman would have been wearing a brace on the surgically repaired knee, but the extent of the injury will not be known until an MRI is completed on Monday.
Matthews scored his league-leading 33rd goal of the season at the end of the major kneeing penalty to Edler, snapping a five-game club scoring drought on the power play and revealed after the game that he missed the 5-2 loss to Winnipeg on Thursday due to a reoccurrence of a wrist injury that saw him miss time earlier in the season.
"The wrist flared up on me pretty bad at the end of the Montreal game, it wasn't doing much better against Calgary at home, so I just decided to take the game and get some work on it." Matthews said. I just kind of let the inflammation kind of settle down and it's feeling much better now."
The Leafs will complete the two-game set in Vancouver on Tuesday before moving on to Winnipeg to play the Jets Thursday and Saturday.
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