Maple Leafs’ Lyubushkin exits game vs. Rangers with head injury

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin would leave his first game with his new team early after taking a massive hit along the boards from New York Rangers enforcer Matt Rempe.

Newly acquired Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin exited Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers after the second period with a head injury, coach Sheldon Keefe said after the team’s shootout victory.

Lyubushkin was hurt when he was hit hard in the corner by Rangers tough guy Matt Rempe just after he played the puck in his own zone. Keefe noted that Rempe left his feet to make the hit.

“Comes a long way, leaves his feet, hits him in the head, injury,” Keefe said.

Goalie Ilya Samsonov said he talked to Lyubushkin afterward, with the defenceman saying he did not believe it was a serious injury.

In the third period, Maple Leafs enforcer Ryan Reaves dropped the gloves with Rempe for a fight.

“I thought it was good, especially considering the guy knocks one of our guys out of the game,” Keefe said.

The Maple Leafs acquired Lyubushkin for the second time in his career on Thursday in a deal with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Leafs were desperate for a right-shot defenceman after Mark Giordano suffered a concussion earlier Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes.

The 29-year-old Russian had four assists in 55 games with Anaheim this season.

Lyubushkin also finished the 2021-22 season with the Leafs after a trade with the Coyotes.

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