Toronto Maple Leafs: John Tavares’ injury sets tone in Game 1 loss to Canadiens

Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91) is hit by Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot (8). (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91) is hit by Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot (8). (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

An unfortunate collision led to John Tavares being stretchered off the ice and the Toronto Maple Leafs searching for answers after losing Game 1 to the Montreal Canadiens.

This is a Leafs team that made it a point to bring in more veteran leaders to help them overcome adversity and unfortunately, the loss of their captain was too much to overcome. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Tavares’ absence had a major impact.

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Credit Carey Price for making life frustrating for Toronto who had enough chances to tie the game especially late. Once again, the power play struggles carried over from the regular season with the team failing to score with five opportunities with the man advantage.

If that continues, the Leafs are going to have to figure out other ways to produce at 5-on-5. The team dominated the scoring chances from the top six who controlled the play in the second (68.42 CF%) and third period (64.20 CF%) but that doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t lead to goals.

What Montreal did was take advantage of two opportunities that led to two goals that were tough to save.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Nick Foligno’s fight served no purpose but to satisfy old-school code

Those who were able to see the Tavares play multiple times (maybe more than they would have liked) know it was not an intentional play. That’s why the immediate aftermath of Nick Foligno challenging Corey Perry to a fight (which he accepted) brought upon a lot of confusion for many.

After the game, Foligno made it clear what led to him challenging Perry and you understand that it’s the old school code of a player having to answer for an incident that happened on the ice.

Did the fight accomplish anything in the end? It didn’t get the Leafs going after a pretty tough situation and the Canadiens ended up scoring not too long after.

Considering how some teams have taken issue with the lack of discipline being handed out by the NHL on intentional plays, you will see more players take it upon themselves to settle things on the ice. You also have to think about the situation the players are in as they likely didn’t see a replay of the hit and are concerned for Tavares, Foligno wants to make sure that someone answers for his captain being taken out of the game.

While the fight didn’t serve a purpose for the Leafs in the end, it at least takes out any unnecessary commentary from those who would have criticized the Leafs for not responding to Tavares being taken out. It’s an old-school approach that doesn’t make sense considering many watching the game weren’t sure what the point of the fight was but clearly the players on the ice felt that a response was needed.

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What were your thoughts on how Game 1 went? Did you agree with Foligno fighting Perry after the Tavares play? Let us know in the comments below.