Anthony Mantha’s best game of the season was cut short early due to a scary and unlucky injury.
After notching two goals earlier in the contest, Mantha was struck by an Evgeny Kuznetsov wrist shot that ramped up off of defender Mike Reilly’s stick. The puck hit Mantha in the left side of his head near his ear.
The big winger needed help to get off of the ice and had a towel pressed to his face.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights & News (@HockeyDaily365) November 9, 2023
The play happened with 7:47 remaining in the third period of a 3-3 game between the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals. Mantha had scored his second and third goals of the season in the prior two periods to give him his 16th career multi-goal outing.
After play was stopped due to his injury, Kuznetsov and linemate Aliaksei Protas helped Mantha make his slow way back to the bench. The 29-year-old then departed down the tunnel to the Capitals’ locker room.
— virginiahume (@virginiahume) November 9, 2023
Mantha had skated 12:58 of ice time in the game before the injury forced him out of action. The Capitals quickly announced that he suffered an “upper-body injury” and would not be returning for the rest of regulation nor overtime.
The Panthers would eventually win the game 4-3 fifteen seconds into the extra frame.
INJURY UPDATE: #Caps forward Anthony Mantha sustained an upper body injury and will not return to tonight’s game.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) November 9, 2023
Mantha’s injury sparked reminders of the very scary play that took defenseman John Carlson out of action for almost half of the season last year. Carlson took a slap shot up high in a game against the Winnipeg Jets that fractured his skull and severed his temporal artery.
The veteran blueliner now wears extra ear protection on that side of his helmet to try and prevent any future, similar injury.
Helmet tweaks for @UniWatch @PhilHecken when Anthony Mantha of the @Capitals took a deflected puck to the head tonight we got a closeup of John Carlson's helmet – he fractured his skull last season – that now has an extra ear guard piece on the right side but not the left pic.twitter.com/uzy2R1tnAA
— bryanwdc (@bryanwdc) November 9, 2023
The Capitals, who are already dealing with injuries to forwards Nic Dowd, Nicklas Backstrom, and Max Pacioretty, recalled AHL standout Mike Sgarbossa from the Hershey Bears on Wednesday. Sgarbossa was a healthy scratch for the game against Florida.
If Mantha needs to miss any time out of the lineup, the Capitals are likely to recall another forward as head coach Spencer Carbery has indicated that he would like to carry 13 forwards into this upcoming weekend’s back-to-back.
Update (10:56 pm): Carbery says Mantha will be reevaluated on Thursday.
Carbery did not have an update on Anthony Mantha, who took a deflected shot off the side of his head near his ear late in the game. The big forward had two goals in the game. He'll be reevaluated tomorrow, Carbery said. #Caps
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) November 9, 2023
Headline photo via @virginiahume/X
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