TORONTO — Given how well these first 20 games have unfolded, a flat effort by the Toronto Maple Leafs was not on its own any cause for alarm.
The league’s best power play went 0-for-7 during Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Calgary Flames and its hottest goal-scorer, Auston Matthews, failed to register a point for the first time in 17 games. It was bound to happen eventually.
“I think we’ve shown that this is not us,” said Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe, whose team has a league-best .750 points percentage to prove it.
Where there might be some room for worry, however, is the status of No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen. He was a surprise scratch at Scotiabank Arena. His replacement, Michael Hutchinson, said he got word early in the day that he’d be drawing his second start of the season against the Flames but there was no prior indication anything was wrong.
Andersen took part in a morning skate with teammates that lasted no more than 10 minutes on Monday — incredibly short by normal standards, but a sensible approach before Toronto’s sixth game in nine nights.
He occupied the starter’s net and everything appeared to be normal. At least until the team announced he was out with a “lower-body injury” less than an hour from puck drop.
And it certainly doesn’t sound like we should expect to see Andersen return to the crease for Wednesday’s rematch with Calgary.