TORONTO — Just when the Golden Knights were close to full strength, they suffered another setback.
“We’ll know more tomorrow,” coach Gerard Gallant said in his postgame comments. “Obviously, it didn’t look good on the ice. I haven’t heard from the trainers or the doctors yet.”
Scary injury for Erik Haula as he gets stretchered off the ice in noticeable discomfort. pic.twitter.com/scv0gSXULk
— Hockey Central (@HockeyCentraI) November 7, 2018
The Knights traveled to Ottawa after the game and practice Wednesday at Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata, Ontario.
Haula was driven into the boards near center ice by Toronto’s Patrick Marleau and went down in a heap 5:01 into the third period. His right leg appeared to buckle after the hit, and Haula was writhing in pain on the ice as he clutched his knee.
Haula was attended to by medical personnel for approximately five minutes, and a hush fell over the announced crowd of 19,045 before he was taken off on a stretcher.
Haula had five points in four games prior to Tuesday, and his injury is another blow for the second line, which already is without center Paul Stastny (lower body) until at least December and has used a revolving door of wingers.
“It’s tough. (Haula) is a big player for us,” forward Ryan Reaves said. “We seem to just keep getting hit by the injury bug right now. It’s tough when you start getting players back and all of a sudden you lose another one. I’m hoping he was just in a lot more pain and it was not a serious injury, but we’ll see.”
Pacioretty, who missed the past four games with an upper-body injury, was unable to spark the Knights’ dormant offense.
The Knights finished with an 82-40 advantage in shot attempts and fired 37 shots on Toronto goaltender Frederik Anderson, but could only muster Cody Eakin’s tip-in goal with 8:38 remaining in the second period.
The Knights finished with more missed shots (25) than the Maple Leafs had shots on goal (21) as they fell to 2-6 on the road.
“I feel like we’re starting to play more of our style and we’re starting to play a better game, but we’re not burying those chances,” defenseman Shea Theodore said. “I thought we had them hemmed in for a while and it was definitely our style of game. I think we just have to stick to it.”
The Maple Leafs, who are without injured standout Auston Matthews, pounced on two unusual mistakes by the Knights to win their second in a row.
In the first period, Knights defenseman Nick Holden intercepted a pass in his own zone by Toronto’s Par Lindholm and started to skate backward as he looked to pass to a teammate.
Instead, Holden lost the puck when he collided with Connor Brown, who wristed a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury 5:30 in to put the Maple Leafs on top 1-0.
“He didn’t know the guy was there. It’s a tough play,” Gallant said of Holden. “You don’t fault anybody for that. Good play by them, tough play by us.”
Toronto went up 2-0 nine seconds into the second period when William Karlsson was unable to dig the puck out of his skates and lost possession to John Tavares at the Knights’ blue line.
Tavares quickly found Mitchell Marner, and Toronto’s leading scorer beat Fleury high to the stick side.
Nazem Kadri added an empty-net goal for the Maple Leafs.
“It’s taking us a little bit sometimes just to get our legs going,” Eakin said. “We had a lot of chances, lots of shots, did some good things. But those two early ones were the difference.
“We did a lot of good things. We put a lot of pressure on them to counteract their fast game pretty well. We can build off that, even in a loss.”
1. Reaves repairs. Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves appeared to injure his right leg on his first shift in the first period. Reaves tried to stretch it out on the bench but went to the locker room for several minutes. He returned with a little more than eight minutes left in the period and played the rest of the game.
2. Bright spot. Defenseman Brad Hunt paired with Jon Merrill and was active throughout. Hunt finished with four shots on goal and eight total shot attempts in his 16:25 of ice time, and he drew praise from coach Gerard Gallant following the game.
3. Falling behind. The Knights were one of the best teams in the league last season when they didn’t have to chase the game, going 34-5-2 when scoring first. But they fell behind for the seventh time in 15 games Tuesday and are 2-5 when their gets the first goal.
David Schoen Review-Journal