Toronto Maple Leafs: Mitch Marner Injury Update: Won’t Play Tonight

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 23: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on during the Game Seven of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on April 23, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 23: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on during the Game Seven of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on April 23, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs will need their role players to step up tonight in absence of Mitch Marner

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost a significant piece to the lineup last night as Mitch Marner suffered an ankle injury only five seconds into the second period of Saturday’s shootout loss against the Flyers.

It was announced late last night that Marner would not travel with the team to Chicago today, and it was most recently reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger via Twitter that Marner has been scheduled for an MRI today to further diagnose his injury.

Marner is currently second in points for the Leafs with four goals and 14 assists for an average of one point per-game.

Despite his point production, there are times where I think Marner could be providing more for the Maple Leafs. He is out there in almost every scenario, whether it be power play or penalty kill, and there are times where it seems he does not have the same confidence and creativity Leafs fans know he is capable of. (Stats courtesy of NHL.com)

Kasperi Kapanen made the jump up briefly last night off of the Kerfoot line alongside Tavares and Moore. While at the time of this writing there has been no confirmed lineups coming into Sunday’s game, we can almost guarantee Kapanen will remain on that line (although I’d personally love Mikheyev there).

This is a great opportunity for Kapanen to showcase his physicality and speed that is typically missing on that line with Marner in it.

Without knowing the full extent of Marner’s injury, and with the absence of Zach Hyman, it is impossible to say that any winger is set in stone to play alongside Tavares.

Regardless of the absence of Marner, I thought the Leafs offence played pretty well last night, especially the Matthews line.

William Nylander has continued to impress finishing with a goal and an assist last night, as that line finished with the most scoring chances with 12, and the most high danger scoring chances with three. This line will need to take a serious step forward in the next couple of games, as the Tavares line will most likely be changed around frequently in the coming weeks. (Stats courtesy of NaturalStattrick.com)

Chicago’s Early Struggles

Chicago is coming off of a shootout loss of their own against the Penguins, and lost in Maple-Leaf like fashion: going ahead two goals early on, then the ice completely tilts in the other team’s favour. The Blackhawks have struggled to string wins together at all this season, and they currently sit sixth in the Central with a 5-7-4 record.

Although Chicago is significantly weaker than Toronto, the games between these two teams always seem to be exciting. You can always expect to see some magic from Patrick Kane, who looks like he will be carrying the Blackhawks’ offence, and the Nylander brothers will face off in Chicago for the first time.

Leaf fans will remember the unbelievable back-and-forth game in Chicago’s home opener last season, which included John Tavares’ first hat trick as a Maple Leaf and Auston Matthews trading goals with Kane in the final minutes of the third period, before Morgan Rielly sealed the deal in overtime.

Next. Toronto Maple Leafs: Is William Nylander the Leafs Best Defensive Forward?. dark

Michael Hutchinson will get the start tonight against Chicago, who has a career .961 save percentage with a 4-1-1 record against the Blackhawks, with his first ever shutout coming at the United Center.