Leafs star centre Matthews ruled out for game against visiting Predators

TORONTO — Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews was ruled out of Toronto's game against the Nashville Predators hours before Wednesday night's opening faceoff.

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed Matthews' status at the Leafs' skate on Wednesday morning, saying the centre's ailment is something that has "been bothering him for a while."

The Leafs say Matthews is listed as "day to day" and he will be re-evaluated on Thursday.

Matthews did not practise on Tuesday but he did participate in Toronto's optional skate Wednesday. The Leafs had an off-day on Monday.

Matthews has 20 goals and 27 assists in 41 games in 2022-23 and is on a five-game point streak, with three goals and four assists over that span.

Toronto entered the game against Nashville second in the Atlantic Division, and in the NHL, with a 25-9-7 record. The game against the Predators was the first of a back-to-back. The Maple Leafs were scheduled to visit the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.

The news on Matthews comes a day after veteran defenceman T.J. Brodie was placed on injured reserve with a rib issue. The Leafs are also without defenceman Jake Muzzin, who remains out with a neck injury.

Bobby McMann, who was recalled from the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies, was expected to fill in for Matthews and make his NHL debut on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press