The Maple Leafs left Washington with a crucial series-tying win, but also with one fewer defenceman.
Roman Polak will be out for the rest of the playoffs after suffering a nasty-looking injury in the second period of Game 2. The injury occurred when Capitals defenceman Brooks Orpik caught Polak with a knee-on-knee hit, but the real damage was done when his foot got caught under him as he fell to the ice.
Polak is one of the more rugged defencemen in the league, so you could tell by his reaction the injury was bad.
The Leafs were forced to play the remainder of the game with only five defencemen, a gruelling task considering the whole double OT thing.
Despite some of the short-comings in Polak’s game, the right-hander brings a physical element to the Maple Leafs D-corps and logs more minutes than any other player on the penalty kill. Another problem is the Leafs’ lack of depth on the blueline.
Toronto is already down one of its top defencemen, as Nikita Zaitsev has yet to suit up in this series due to an upper-body injury. And with Polak now on the shelf the Leafs will be forced to dress Alexey Marchenko, who hasn’t really inspired confidence since being claimed from the Red Wings in February.
The Leafs were already up against the odds against the Capitals in this series, and this certainly won’t help their chances.
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