Last night was the textbook definition of a bittersweet win for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sure, they lit up the Anaheim Ducks for seven goals on the evening, but it came at huge cost. Starting goalie Frederik Andersen left the game midway through the 2nd period after taking an accidental skate to the face from Ducks forward Corey Perry.
Here’s the play:
Ouch. That doesn’t look pretty.
Andersen would be forced to leave the game and backup Curtis McElhinney would guide the Leafs to victory the rest of the way. After the game though, all Leafs fans wanted to hear about was the health of their starting goaltender.
“Obviously, when a big piece of your team like Fred goes down in the middle of a game, everyone wants to rally around and be better for one another,” said Leafs superstar Auston Matthews after the game. “But Mac (McElhinney) did really well (coming in). When we broke out fast and got the puck back behind (the Ducks’ defence) we were kind of able to control the play.”
Leafs head coach Mike Babcock offered up a bit of an update on Andersen, saying just that he’s “fine.”
That’s a relief, I guess? Babcock is by no means a doctor, but he’s also a smart guy when it comes to dealing with the media. If he felt there were an issue with Andersen, he’d be up front about it.
As for McElhinney, he was awarded the win after making 15 saves and securing the Leafs net for the balance of the game. But, the veteran backup admitted at first that he didn’t see what happened to Andersen.
McElhinney then admitted to feeling some rust early on, but managed to pull things together and earn his 6th win of the season.