The Maple Leafs will welcome back their top center as Auston Matthews confirmed to reporters, including Sports Illustrated’s David Alter (Twitter link) that he is ready to return after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. That’s certainly a big boost for Toronto as the 25-year-old has 20 goals and 27 assists in 41 games while anchoring their top line and power play. However, Matthews indicated that the injury is “something I’m going to have to stay on top of” which suggests that he hasn’t fully recovered from it and that it’s likely going to linger over the second half of the season. Toronto sits nine points behind Boston in the Atlantic heading into tonight’s matchup between the two teams.
More from the Atlantic:
- In the AHL, there is a rule that prohibits teams from loading up on veterans as it is a developmental league. That rule is proving to be a problem for Red Wings winger Jakub Vrana as it was relayed in the preview of their game last night (Twitter link) that the rule was going to keep him out of the lineup for the second time. The 26-year-old has struggled since joining Grand Rapids as he has just an assist in six games and now that he’s part of a veteran rotation, it will be even more difficult for him to rediscover his scoring touch.
- Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons did not accompany the team to Nashville and will miss tonight’s game due to illness, relays Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald. The 29-year-old continues to be a fixture in Buffalo’s bottom six, a role he has held for nearly a decade and has four goals and six assists in 39 games so far this season.