The Toronto Maple Leafs have been criticized for lacking physical presence on the ice for the last couple of years.
They have gained a reputation for being weak, not standing up to each other on the ice, and not having big guys stepping up when needed.
In the summer, they signed some players, including Ryan Reaves and Max Domi, to address what they’ve been missing.
However, Reaves and Domi have had a challenging start to their Toronto careers, with Reaves even being a healthy scratch for some games.
But last night, the Leafs got physical, and it all started with Jake McCabe laying one of this season’s biggest hits.
The Rangers’ Ryan Lindgren is known for delivering big hits from time to time, but in Tuesday’s Rangers-Maple Leafs matchup, he was on the receiving end of things.
Toronto had a two-goal lead with less than 10 minutes left in regulation when Lindgren got absolutely laid out by Jake McCabe, who stopped the Rangers’ momentum on the Leafs’ end with one of the best hits of this season.
Mika Zibanejad, not really known for his fighting abilities, immediately went after McCabe.
Zibanejad didn’t really look like he was up for a fight, but as McCabe dropped the gloves in response to Zibanejad’s roughing, they both headed to the penalty box.
As McCabe’s hit was clean, he only got two minutes for fighting. Zibanejad, however, was issued a double minor for the incident, which gave Toronto a powerplay.
The Rangers never bounced back and lost all momentum after the hit from McCabe, and with two quick goals late in the third, Toronto won the game 7-3.