The Toronto Maple Leafs saw their three-game win streak snapped against the Philadelphia Flyers on the Thursday, leaving Toronto with 44 points and a tenuous hold on the No. 5 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Yet what dwarfs this loss in magnitude when it comes to Toronto’s playoffs hopes is the injury keeping Joffrey Lupul out from Saturday night’s 7 p.m. ET puck-drop with the New Jersey Devils.
“He’s done a lot for us. He’s a great player,” Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer said, via NHL.com “I don’t know how long he’s out for but hopefully it’s short. But if it’s a couple games or a couple weeks, we’ve got to step up in here.”
Lupul, who was also sidelined for two months from January to March with a broken arm, was knocked out of Thursday’s contest after a head-shot that has not yet been confirmed by the team as a concussion. The Maples Leafs had really hit their stride upon Lupul’s return seven games ago, having won four games with the only losses coming by shootout since Lupul’s return. That was until he left the Philly game in a hazy state.
His return in March yielded instant dividends, as prior to Thursday’s loss he had recorded at least two points in five of six contests and recorded one point in the other before Thursday. Toronto has a plus-9 goal differential since his return and saw his best game in the previous contest against the Ottawa Senators, in which he notched a goal and three assists for a plus-3 differential.