Matthews out as Maple Leafs host Bruins
TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is being listed as day-to-day with a shoulder injury and will not be available to play against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
Matthews was injured late in the 4-3 shootout win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
"He's day-to-day and we'll know more about the day-to-day tomorrow," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said Friday after the team practice. "He's going to be out for a bit anyway, so it's an opportunity to see Willy (Nylander) or (Patrick) Marleau or whoever will play in the middle or someone else. We have guys on the (American Hockey League) Marlies dying for an opportunity too. We'll sort it out as we go."
This is the third time Matthews, who leads the Maple Leafs in scoring with 28 goals and 22 assists, has been injured this season. A suspected lower-back injury and a concussion sidelined him a total of 10 games. The Maple Leafs are 6-4 without Matthews.
"It's sports; (injuries) are all part of the business," Babcock said. "You get to work, get back as fast as you can. He's a passionate guy who wants to play. I'm not very concerned about him, he's fine."
The game against the Bruins could be a preview of a first-round playoff matchup. The Maple Leafs have won 13 of their past 16 games and eight in a row at the Air Canada Centre.
The Maple Leafs (38-20-5) are third in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the second-place Bruins and four behind the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning (41-17-3). The Maple Leafs have played five more games than Boston and two more than the Lightning.
The Bruins are 2-1-0 during a five-game road trip. They are 17-2-2 in their past 21 games on the road. The Maple Leafs are 21-8-2 at the ACC.
Boston lost 6-1 to the Canucks on Saturday at Vancouver before defeating the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers on Monday and Tuesday.
The Bruins are 0-for-10 on the power play during their trip and coach Bruce Cassidy admits that it is a concern.
"Yeah, there is," Cassidy said. "I don't like our execution lately. It hasn't hurt us much, but as some point it will. Clearly in Vancouver I guess you could point to that, but when you lose 6-1 there's a lot of things going on. Certainly, a power-play (goal) could have gotten us back in the game. It's not where it needs to be, let's put it that way. It's an area of our game that needs to improve."
Defenseman Nick Holden, who was obtained in a trade with the New York Rangers on Tuesday, is not expected to play Saturday. He joined the team in Toronto and is expected to need a few practices.
The Bruins also announced that rookie Anders Bjork underwent "successful left shoulder arthroscopy and labral repair" this week and the recovery time is expected to be six months.
Bjork was injured Jan. 30 when, early in a game against Anaheim, he ran into Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin and needed help off the ice. Bjork had also missed seven games after suffering a concussion after taking a big hit from Toronto's Matt Martin.
The left winger has four goals and eight assists in 30 games.
The Bruins also traded center Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers for a 2018 third-round draft pick on Thursday.
Vatrano had been nursing a lower-body injury but had rejoined the Bruins and was skating in Toronto.
This will be the fourth meeting between the teams this season. The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs 4-1 on Feb. 3 at Boston. The Maple Leaf defeated the Bruins and 4-1 in home-and-way games Nov. 10-11.
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