Scheifele, Laine leave Game 1 of Cup Qualifiers for Jets with injury

 nhl.com  08/02/2020 07:55:12 

Mark Scheifele left Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers for the Winnipeg Jets against the Calgary Flames on Saturday with a lower-body injury.

The center was injured on a play along the right boards in the Flames zone in the first period after dumping the puck behind the net while being pursued by Calgary forward Matthew Tkachuk.

Schiefele was helped off the ice at 5:39 and was not putting any weight on his left leg. Winnipeg lost 4-1.

Jets forward Patrik Laine did not play the final 14:16 of the third period after an exchange with Flames defenseman Mark Giordano. He has an apparent upper-body injury.

Video: WPG@CGY, Gm1: Laine injured in 3rd period

Scheifele and Laine each will see a specialist Sunday, according to Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice, who said he believes Scheifele was injured when kicked by Tkachuk.

"It was intentional. It was a filthy, dirty kick to the back of the leg," Maurice said. "You can't see it on the program feed, but take the blue-line feed and you zoom in. He went after the back of the leg. He could have cut his Achilles. He could have ended the man's career. It's an absolutely filthy, disgusting hit."

Tkachuk said he did not intentionally kick Scheifele.

 "Absolutely not," Tkachuk said. "I'm backchecking on him, and it's such an accident. I felt terrible from the result of it. I remember he was turning away. I just went in and my left skate had a little bit of the speed wobbles, and I was moving probably too fast for myself and was going down, and my leg just collided with it, looked like it jammed him up. His body was going one way, but the way I hit him his leg was going one way. 

"I feel terrible. He's a top player in the NHL and someone I've come to know the last couple summers training with Gary Roberts. He's such a great guy. Just a top player in the League. It's not good for the game when somebody like that isn't in the game."

A penalty was not called on the play.

Scheifele has 26 points (16 goals, 10 assists) in 28 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He tied Kyle Connor for the Jets lead in points (73) and led them in assists (44) and power-play goals (10) this season. He scored 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in the final 11 games before the NHL paused the season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

Winnipeg went 0-for-7 on the power play.

"We don't know the severity of it. We don't know what's going to happen," Jets captain Blake Wheeler said when asked about the impact of losing Scheifele. "It's kind of a rhetorical question in a way. Arguably your top player, your top offensive player, and logs so many minutes and especially down the middle, such a huge piece of what we do and what we need to do. No matter what, you can't replicate what he brings to our lineup."

If Scheifele is out, Winnipeg would be without its top two centers. Bryan Little has not played since he was hit with a shot against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 5. He had surgery in February to repair a perforated eardrum.

The best-of-5 series is being played at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city. The winner will advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this report

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