Toronto Maple Leafs defender Paul Ranger is in a stable condition after his head injury in their encounter against Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night, according to ESPN.

The 29-year-old was caught off balance by Lightning player Alex Killorn who crashed the defender into the boards at the end of the first period. There was concern for Ranger who was stretchered off after some treatment on the ice.

Killorn was given a five minute penalty but stated that it wasn't an intentional hit on the Maple Leafs defender, and believed the scenes were unfortunate.

"It was one of those moments where I commit to hit someone, so it's just unfortunate play," he said.

The Lightning went on to win the game 5-3, but after the game Killorn left a message on the former Tampa Bay player's phone to apologise for the incident. The 24-year-old went on to say he was committed to the tackle and Ranger turned before he could pull out of the tackle.

"As I was going to hit him, Ranger turned and I was already committed at that point.

"I think back to the incident and wonder how I could have prevented it, and look back to see what else I could have done."

Ranger is said to be "stable, concious and alert" according to his club's twitter account.

The former Springfield Falcons defender has played 48 games this season, scoring four times and grabbing eight assists. This has been the defender's first season with the Maple Leafs after having joined from the AHL side the Toronto Marlies after one season.

But the Maple Leafs have now lost three games on the bounce, with a tough encounter coming up against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday who sit above the Toronto side by three points in the Eastern Conference.

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