Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson had to leave Thursday night’s eventual 6-3 win over the Golden Knights in the second period, after what appeared to be an attempt at a knee-to-knee collision from Knights defender Brayden McNabb. It looks like McNabb’s hit landed just above Johnsson’s knee, and the Leafs rookie’s injury is considered “nothing too serious,” according to Auston Matthews. But still, Johnsson had to be helped off the ice and did not return to the game.
McNabb was an average defenseman during Vegas’s Cup run last year, but more than anything, he’s known for dirty plays. As a prospect in the 2011 Memorial Cup, McNabb’s hit to Joey Hishon’s head kept Hishon out of hockey for 22 months. Just last season, McNabb cracked Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’s ribs with a rough hit, and during the Stanley Cup Finals, he made dangerous checks on both T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov. McNabb’s a fighter and the kind of guy who likes to inflict pain on goalscorers, and after the Johnsson injury, he couldn’t hide just a flicker of pleasure from inside the penalty box.
If Matt Martin were still in Toronto, maybe he wouldn’t have been so smiley.