Leafs pick replacement for Tavares ahead of Game 2

A few changes made to the lineup in Toronto.


We all expected changes to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup following captain John Tavares’ serious injury. As you know, Tavares was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a collision early in the first-round playoff matchup with the Montreal Canadiens. It was a freak accident: Tavares bumped into Habs defenseman Ben Chariot, fell to the ice where he was defenseless and hit by forward Corey Perry’s knee. Trainers and doctors from both teams rushed to the ice and attended to the veteran forward before he was taken away. The game was halted for several minutes. A game which the Canadiens won to take the 1-0 lead in the series. 

Good news came from an update by the team, stating that Tavares was thoroughly examined and assessed by a neurosurgical team at St. Michaels Hospital and the club’s medical director. It sounds like the results of this assessment was positive enough to get Tavares back home with his loved ones. But he will  remain out indefinitely. 

This prompted head coach Sheldon Keefe to make changes to his lineup at practice on Friday, ahead of Game 2. Pierre Engvall and Alex Galchenyuk wore regular jerseys and added to the roster, while Riley Nash practiced as an extra.

Ben Hutton also returned to practice from his undisclosed medical emergency. 

Goalie Jack Campbelle was absent from Friday's practice, however, he is believed to have benefited from a maintenance day. 

Here is a look at the new second line: 

We're not saying Engvall and Galchenyuk can come close to replacing Tavares' talent, but this injury will test the Maple Leafs' depth. 

The Canadiens and Maple Leafs will face off for the second game of this first-round series on Saturday night, at the ScotiaBank Centre.