NHL

Maple Leafs' Lupul undergoes evaluation

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The Canadian Press
4/5/2013 10:06:47 PM
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TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul did not practise Friday and will not make the trip to New Jersey for Saturday's game against the Devils.

Lupul suffered an upper-body injury in a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Head coach Randy Carlyle said Lupul was examined Friday morning and is day to day. He was asked whether Lupul suffered a concussion, but said it was too early to provide specifics on the nature of the injury.

A team spokesman later confirmed that Lupul would not travel with the team.

Lupul appeared to take a blow to the head in the first period after being sandwiched by Jay Rosehill and Adam Hall. The 29-year-old forward got back to his feet but was wobbly and had to be helped onto the bench.

He left for the locker-room shortly afterwards and did not return.

"It's tough, (Lupul) is an important piece to this puzzle," linemate Nazem Kadri said after the one-hour practice. "Definitely for us, we've had some chemistry and that's going to be missed but we've got a couple guys back in the lineup.

"(Lupul) has missed a good portion of the season so far and we've found a way for other guys to step up and take initiative and really get the job done."

Lupul has been in fine form since returning to the lineup after missing 25 games due to a broken forearm. He was recently named the NHL's first star of the week and has 14 points in 10 games this season.

"From what I was told today was just a maintenance day for him," Kadri said. "Sometimes just staying away from the rink makes you feel a little bit better."

Lupul has had injury problems throughout his career. He also missed the end of last season after suffering a shoulder injury in March 2012 and sat out several months with a back injury and subsequent blood infection a few years ago.

Clarke MacArthur played on Lupul's line with Kadri and Nikolai Kulemin during the morning skate at the MasterCard Centre.

"He does such a great job of coming back and being in shape and pucks are going in for him and then you get banged up again," MacArthur said. "So hopefully it's minor."

The Leafs will have to try and get back on track without Lupul on Saturday. Toronto's three-game winning streak and eight-game point streak ended with the 5-3 loss to the Flyers on Thursday night at Air Canada Centre.

Lupul, a native of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., signed a US$26.25-million, five-year contract extension last January. He recorded 25 goals and a career-high 42 assists and 67 points in 66 games last season.

Toronto acquired Lupul and defenceman Jake Gardiner from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Francois Beauchemin in February 2011. In 525 career NHL regular-season games, Lupul has 159 goals and 178 assists. He has 23 points (14-9) in 39 career playoff games.

Entering Friday's games, Toronto was tied with the Ottawa Senators for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 44 points. The Senators have a game in hand.

The Maple Leafs have an important stretch of games coming up as they strive to make their first playoff appearance since 2004. Toronto has a home-and-home series on tap with the New York Rangers next week followed by a home game against Montreal.

MacArthur and forward Leo Komarov could be back in action Saturday. Both players have been out of the lineup of late with undisclosed upper-body injuries.

Maple Leafs defenceman Ryan O'Byrne also practised Friday. He was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday but did not dress against the Flyers.

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