The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without captain John Tavares for at least two weeks as he recovers from a knee injury and a concussion sustained in Game 1 of the first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
Tavares, 30, was checked by Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot midway through the first period of Montreal’s 2-1 win. Tavares fell right into the path of Montreal forward Corey Perry, who jumped to try and avoid Tavares, but Perry’s left knee struck the Maple Leafs forward in the head.
Tavares was discharged from an area hospital on Friday morning and is recovering at home.
The Leafs said Tavares would be out indefinitely following the injury but updated that stance Saturday after the knee injury was discovered.
“John was diagnosed with a concussion and also sustained a knee injury on the play, similar to the one sustained by Zach Hyman during the regular season in Vancouver (April 18),” Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said. “It will be a minimum of two weeks on that but obviously our primary concern is the concussion and making sure he returns to full health.
“The knee injury you can give a timeline on but the head injury and concussion, it’s very difficult to place a timeline on when someone is going to return from that. We handle those in a very conservative nature and handle them very sensitively. We will follow the protocols to a T on that. We can’t replace that element with John and cannot repair it. We are keeping in mind he has a young family and there is an onus on us to protect him and his future in that regard.”
Tavares, on Friday, took to Twitter to show his appreciation for the support he received following the incident.
“The support I’ve felt since last night cannot be put into words,” he wrote. “I’m thankful to share that I’m back home and recovering. Thank you to my family, friends, teammates, the Maple Leafs organization, Leafs Nation, and the hockey community for being by my side.
“Also, thank you to both medical teams, emergency services, and everyone at St. Mike’s Hospital for their exceptional care to help me get back on my feet.
“I look forward to when I can wear the Maple Leaf on my chest again. Until then, I’ll be cheering on the boys along with Leafs Nation as we compete in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.”
Tavares was playing in his 37th career playoff game and his 13th since signing a free-agent contract with Toronto prior to the 2018-19 season. Tavares recorded 50 points (19 goals, 31 assists) over 56 games during the regular season.
Game 3 of the Maple Leafs’ first-round series with the Canadiens is set for Monday night in Montreal with Toronto still favored despite the loss of Tavares.
Game 3 odds, Maple Leafs at Canadiens
- Maple Leafs to win (per Bovada): -145
- Canadiens to win: +125