Skip to main content

Hockey Leafs’ Matthews a game-time decision due to ‘general soreness’

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) reacts after missing his penalty shot against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period at Staples Center, Nov. 2, 2017.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

If the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to cool off the Vegas Golden Knights, they may have to do it without superstar Auston Matthews.

Matthews left the ice early at the morning skate Monday and Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock wasn't sure the young centre would be available for Toronto's home game against the Golden Knights in the evening.

"Matthews is a game-time decision with soreness," said Babcock. "We'll see."

Story continues below advertisement

After Matthews went to the locker-room, Babcock had right-winger William Nylander centring the top line. If Matthews sits out, Nylander is expected to slide over to centre.

When asked if the soreness was an ongoing issue or if it came from Saturday night's 6-4 loss in St. Louis, Babcock was terse.

"No, I don't think it even happened in St. Louis. How's that?" said Babcock.

The 20-year-old Matthews has 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in 15 games this season. He was selected first overall by the Maple Leafs in last year's draft and won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year in 2016-17, scoring 40 goals with 29 assists.

Matthews was not made available for comment after the morning skate.

Vegas (9-4-0) is off to a hot start in its inaugural season, having won six of its past 10 games entering play Monday at Air Canada Centre. The Golden Knights, who are in second place in the Pacific Division, also have some momentum after a 5-4 win in Ottawa on Saturday.

Toronto (8-7-0) is headed in the opposite direction. The Leafs have dropped back-to-back games and lost six of their past 10 to sit third in the Atlantic Division behind Tampa Bay and Ottawa.

Story continues below advertisement

"We've been in our own way, I really believe, the last five or six games," said Babcock. "Not playing without the puck right, turning over the puck. We took a run at that and I think we've proven to ourselves we can't win like that, so let's fix it."

Nylander, in his third NHL season, has three goals and eight assists in 15 games with a plus-9 rating. A natural winger, he has some experience at centre with the Toronto Marlies, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Maple Leafs.

"I'll be ready to play centre if I need to, but I don't think I'll have to," said Nylander, who was pleased to be back on Toronto's top unit after Connor Brown spent more time with the first line in the Maple Leafs' last game.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter