TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets delivered welcome news to their respective fan bases Monday morning, each announcing the health of a greasy top winger in advance of their game at Scotiabank Arena.
Toronto’s top-line left wing, Andreas Johnsson, is now happy and pain-free after leaving Saturday’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins when his left leg took the brunt of a fully cocked Brandon Carlo slap shot.
"I don’t know a lot of spots where it wouldn’t hurt," Johnsson said Monday. "It was a heavy shot by Carlo.
"It was a big bruise."
Thankfully, a bruise is all it was. Johnsson tried to "run on adrenaline" and return to Saturday’s game, but the intense pain forced him to take a precautionary route.
X-rays revealed no break.
So, after taking treatment in lieu of team practice Sunday, Johnsson confirms he’s ready to assume his regular spot on Auston Matthews’ line.
The 24-year-old Swede is off to an excellent start, registering three goals and five points, and the Maple Leafs’ forward depth is already being tested with John Tavares (finger) and Zach Hyman (knee) already sidelined.
"It’s kinda funny with hockey — you can play with a lot of injuries," Johnsson said. "This is one of the smallest you can have, so no problem."
No more problems for Josh Anderson.
The Blue Jackets’ power forward will return to action after missing the past six games with a reported shoulder injury suffered at Pittsburgh on Oct. 5.
Rookie Jakob Lilja comes out of the lineup to pave the way for Anderson, whose return means a ton to the visitors.
"Damn right, it does. He’s one of our best players," said coach John Tortorella, who uses the Burlington, Ont., native on both specialty teams. "He is one hell of a hockey player.
"There was so much there. In my mind, what I can project he can be, he can be something special. The key with Josh is, does it get good to ya, or do you just keep on concentrating on getting better and better? That’s the key for Josh — it’s upstairs. And he’s matured there tremendously."
Columbus (3-3-2), coming off consecutive overtime losses, will start Joonas Korpisalo in net Monday, while the Maple Leafs (5-3-1) stick with Frederik Andersen, meaning backup Michael Hutchinson gets the nod for Tuesday’s anticipated rematch in Boston.