The Toronto Marlies have had their most impactful game of the series on the scoresheet tonight, and the Albany Devils are none to pleased. In what may have been an attempt to set the tone physically, Albany defenceman Dan Kelly crossed the line with a dangerous hit that left Leafs prospect Andreas Johnson motionless in just his second professional game in North America.
Johnson was unable to get up for several minutes, before being carried to the Marlies dressing room by his teammates. Prior to the incident, the Swedish winger had two shots through the first 30 minutes of play.
Zach Hyman immediately came to Johnson’s defense, dropping the gloves with Kelly. Kelly received a match penalty for a check to the head, which will come with an automatic suspension of at least one game.
This isn’t Albany’s first controversial hit of the series, nor is Johnson the first player to suffer a head injury as the result of one. In overtime of Game 3, Joseph Blandisi cross-checked defenceman Stuart Percy head-first into the boards, but due the hit being behind the play, had his infraction go unnoticed by the referees. Percy is currently not available for play and was replaced with Travis Dermott for tonight’s game.
Johnson, as you can imagine, is not expected to return to this game. Given the circumstances, it would be a shock to see him back in these playoffs at all. That should come secondary, though; with a head injury like this, personal recovery is priority number one.