TORONTO – Injuries hit the Maple Leafs hard against the Rangers.
Winger David Clarkson and defenceman Carl Gunnarsson were each knocked out of Saturday night’s 7-1 loss to New York, and Toronto coach Randy Carlyle had no real update on the severity of either injury.
Clarkson suffered an apparent left foot injury, which the team called only a lower-body injury. Gunnarsson left with an upper-body injury.
“Both players were taken out,” Carlyle said. “With Gunnarsson he fell awkwardly, an upper body. Clarkson blocked the shot, couldn’t get the pain to settle down, so we lost two players. It just seemed to magnify that we weren’t skating to get inside, and we didn’t check.”
The Leafs didn’t do much of anything correctly in their most lopsided loss of the season, and winger Joffrey Lupul didn’t blame the injuries for any part of that.
“No offence to those guys, but I don’t know if they would’ve been helping tonight,” Lupul said. “You never like to see guys go down, and those are two veteran guys and we’re hoping they’re all right. … That’s certainly not an excuse for how we played tonight.”
Clarkson blocked a shot from New York defenceman Michael Del Zotto midway through the first period. He hobbled to the bench and seemed to be in a lot of pain once there.
The 29-year-old, who has three goals and five assists this season, went to the bench shortly thereafter. Clarkson returned to the bench later and took one 21-second shift early in the second period before leaving again.
Minutes after Clarkson was injured, Gunnarsson took a hit from Carl Hagelin on his left shoulder, and the 27-year-old’s right shoulder was rammed into the glass.
With Clarkson out, Jerry D’Amigo took his spot on Toronto’s third line alongside Nikolai Kulemin and Jay McClement. With Gunnarsson out, Jake Gardiner filled in on the top defensive pairing alongside captain Dion Phaneuf.
Gunnarsson also had a scare during pre-game warm-ups when a shot from Clarkson rang off the crossbar and deflected to hit him in the head. He did not leave the ice at the time.