The pain kept on coming for Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson last night.
Wilson's club returned home from a three-game, Western Conference trip to battle the Alexander Ovechkin-led Washington Capitals at the Air Canada Centre and came out on the losing end of a 2-1 decision.
And if that wasn't tough enough, Wilson was forced to endure a seemingly endless parade by his troops to the infirmary.
Not only did the Leafs lose their third game in a row, they also lost rookie defenceman Luke Schenn, with an undisclosed leg injury, and forwards Niklas Hagman, with a possible concussion, and Lee Stempniak, with a cut nose. Schenn and Hagman have been two of the club's most reliable players this season.
"We're looking at a minimum of two weeks right now," Wilson said of Schenn, who was hit by Ovechkin in the second period. "Beyond that, we have to wait until (today) just to let things simmer down. But it's not anything major or anything like that."
Wilson said the club will call up defenceman from the AHL Toronto Marlies, probably Staffan Kronwall. They'll also call up a forward if Hagman is unable to play in tomorrow's game at the ACC against the New York Islanders, although Wilson doesn't believe he'll be out for long.
"He got a knee in the head and felt a little groggy," Wilson said of Hagman. "That happened fairly early in the game. He only got a couple of shifts in when he got hit. And he sat there for a while and he just didn't feel well. But he felt a lot better later."
Last night's score could have been much more one-sided if not for the solid play of goaltender Vesa Toskala, who made 28 saves in the loss.
Ovechkin was by far the best player on the ice, next to Toskala. The Russian star recorded seven shots and nearly scored from his knees. As it was, Toskala stoned him with a great glove save. Ovechkin also threw his body around, recording six hits, more than any other player. Heading into last night's game, Ovechkin had picked up 26 points in the previous 13 games.
The Leafs managed only 12 shots in the first two periods and looked completely jet-lagged, having arrived home from Phoenix on Friday afternoon. After recording a 6-3 loss to the Coyotes on Thursday night, Wilson roused his troops early Friday morning for an 8 a.m. workout in the desert before the team flew home. And last night they still looked, well, as Wilson put it himself, "logy".
The Leafs trailed Washington 1-0 after two periods, rookie defenceman Karl Alzner scoring his first NHL goal at 1:41 of the second. Nik Antropov scored his 10th of the season on power-play goal at 6:12 of the third to tie it, when he beat Washington goaltender Brent Johnson to the short side. Exactly one minute later, however, Milan Jurcina scored his second of the season to put the Capitals back on top, 2-1.
The Capitals dominated offensively despite being without Alexander Semin, who led the NHL in points earlier in the season. Semin is day to day with a bad back, and hasn't played since Nov. 27. He was joined in the press box yesterday by Sergei Fedorov (ankle), Mike Green (shoulder) and Tom Poti (groin).