Not only did the Maple Leafs suffer a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night, they also lost their best two-way center and top defenseman to injury.
Toronto lost second-year center Alyn McCauley with a head injury and defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev with a foot contusion.
McCauley was taken heavily into the end boards by New Jersey defenseman Sheldon Souray seven minutes into the third period.
It took 10 minutes to stabilize McCauley and secure him to a stretcher before he was taken to a hospital. It was diagnosed as a head injury and McCauley had full feeling in his extremities.
"He was unconscious for quite a while," said Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn. "We won't know anything until the evaluation (at Toronto Western Hospital) is complete."
Toronto left wing Derek King said his linemate was awake when he was carried off the ice.
"I grabbed his hand and said, `Take it easy,"' King said. "He just sort of shook his head."
Souray was emotionally shaken after the game and repeated that it was accidental.
"I know Alyn from when he was with us," Souray said. "You don't want to see that happen. It was a fluky thing. I hope he's all right."
Karpovtsev, meanwhile, took a slap shot off the inside of his left ankle early in the second period and was helped off the ice. The foot contusion will sideline Karpovtsev on a day-to-day basis.
The Maple Leafs blew a two-goal lead to lose two points to their Eastern Conference rival.
Jason Arnott's two third-period goals broke the 2-2 tie after New Jersey overcame a 2-0 deficit.
The Maple Leafs appeared to be in good shape after Sergei Berezin staked Toronto to a 2-0 second-period lead.
But the Devils erupted for five straight goals, a rally started by Scott Niedermayer and Bob Carpenter, who scored to tie the game in the last four minutes of the second period.
Early in the third, Arnott flicked a wrist shot past a screened Curtis Joseph to put the Devils ahead 3-2. Arnott's 55-foot blast from inside the blue line eluded Joseph midway through the period.
"I just shot the puck and hit the net," Arnott said. "The difference is they went in. Everyone has been telling me to shoot more."
Patrik Elias, who also had two assists, scored an empty-net goal for the Devils, who are 3-0-1 in their last four.
The loss was Toronto's first at the Air Canada Centre (2-1-1).
"We started to play their (Devils') game," said Quinn. "We couldn't make a pass after a while. We didn't have the personnel to play how we play best."
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