Toronto and Montreal are facing each other in the postseason for the first time in 42 years and, not even one period in, there’s already been a potential series-changing event. Leafs captain John Tavares was stretchered off the ice after being knocked out cold during a collision with Canadiens forward Corey Perry in Game 1.
After receiving a pass and getting dropped to the ice awkwardly in a collision around his own blue line, Tavares took a (likely accidental) knee to the head as Perry was flying by.
Perry clips Tavares in the head
Scary. Holy shit... pic.twitter.com/T94cGQnjCU
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 20, 2021
Tavares struggled attempting to get back on his feet before hobbling and folding back as he collapsed to the ice, prompting this panicked response from Leafs GM Kyle Dubas amid the commotion. Toronto's medical team quickly rushed onto the ice and were able to stretcher him off for further evaluation after a tense and terrifying few minutes.
Thumbs up from John Tavares as he's stretchered off the ice following a freak accident with Corey Perry pic.twitter.com/C3PidL1GJ2
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) May 21, 2021
With his thumb up to the hockey world as he was carted off, a calming signal after the distress Tavares was clearly in, the concern quickly turned to the Leafs captain's long-term health.
The 30-year-old Tavares was transported to a local hospital and is being evaluated overnight, said Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe after the game, adding that Tavares was "conscious and communicating well."
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