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Practice Report: Auston Matthews says he won’t miss next game

And an update on Jake Muzzin

Carolina Hurricanes v Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 7: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs fires a shot against the Carolina Hurricanes during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 7, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Auston Matthews left Monday’s win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the third period after getting hit in the back of the head by Brett Pesce while battling with Nino Niederreiter. Matthews was down for a long while on the ice, but eventually left under his own weight but didn’t return.

Matthews wasn’t at practice on Tuesday, but he was always scheduled to miss that day because of the All-Star weekend. Head coach Sheldon Keefe said they were optimistic about Matthews’ return and things were better than expected, but that they were still cautious.

Today, he was on the ice with the Leafs and later told the media that he’s good to go for Thursday night’s game in Calgary.

The reigning Rocket Richard winner scored his 30th and 31st goals of the season last night, putting him two behind Chris Kreider (who has seven games in hand on him) for the Rocket Richard race.

The Leafs didn’t run a revised forward lineup during their practices, instead getting a couple UofT players to fill in at forward and as an extra defenseman (Pierre Engvall skated at 1C with Marner and Bunting). Another bit of good news was Jake Muzzin taking his regular spot in the lineup and penalty kill next to Justin Holl, indicating he’s probably ready to be back in the lineup soon. The Leafs still want to be cautious with him due to his concussion.

Wayne Simmonds is going to be a daddy again as his wife gave birth to their second child! He wasn’t at practice today and it’s unclear whether he’ll rejoin the team in time for Thursday’s game. Take that paternity leave, Wayne!

Among the 21 skaters under the cap, the Leafs have chosen to take the extra defenseman in Dermott or Liljegren versus an extra forward, like Nick Ritchie. If Simmonds isn’t available to play, Travis Dermott will skate as the seventh defenseman with Sandin and Liljegren on the third pair together.

Bunting - Matthews - Marner
Kerfoot - Tavares - Nylander
Mikheyev - Kämpf - Kaše
Engvall - Spezza - Simmonds

Rielly - Brodie
Muzzin - Holl
Sandin - Liljegren
Dermott

Campbell
Mrázek

Unless there are acquisitions coming ahead of the Trade Deadline, expect this to be the ideal roster the Toronto Maple Leafs go into the playoffs with.

Poll

Would you be happy if this was the Leafs lineup you saw in Game 1?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    I’d be happy with this lineup
    (90 votes)
  • 29%
    I’d be content with this lineup
    (153 votes)
  • 5%
    Dubas needs to get an impact forward
    (31 votes)
  • 47%
    Dubas needs to get an impact defenseman
    (249 votes)
  • 0%
    Dubas needs to get a goalie
    (4 votes)
527 votes total Vote Now