Coach Sheldon Keefe said Thursday night that the star’s center was conscious and communicating well, and the first tests came back “clear,” but he was kept overnight for observation. He is now resting at home under the supervision of the team’s medics and will be out indefinitely, the Leafs said.
Just over halfway through the first period, Tavares was knocked down by Ben Chiarot and, as he fell onto the ice, was hit by Corey Perry’s knee as he skated. The game has stopped so that the medical staff can take care of Tavares. He was eventually taken on a stretcher and taken to hospital.
All the Leafs team came out of the bench to see Tavares before its release. The 30-year-old gave a boost when he was taken off the ice.
“I’ve been through a lot of different things, a lot of serious injuries and stuff like that in my time as a player and as a coach,” Keefe said afterward. “In an empty building like this, it was probably the most uncomfortable situation I’ve been in on the ice. It was really difficult to go through.
“Life kicks in at that point,” added Toronto winger Nick Foligno. “… The game takes a back seat in this situation, whatever the circumstances. “
Perry said he tried to jump over Tavares when his knee caught his head.
“Honestly, I felt a stomach ache when I saw him and when I saw (Tavares),” he said.
The Canadians won the game 2-1 and took a 1-0 lead in the first round playoff series. The second game will take place on Saturday.