Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews returning to lineup vs. Blackhawks after 5-game absence
The Maple Leafs went 2-3-0 during Matthews' five-game absence.
Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews will return to action Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks following a three-week absence due to a knee injury, head coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed Wednesday.
Matthews was ruled out on Jan. 27 with a knee sprain suffered during a Jan. 25 victory over the New York Rangers. Toronto went 2-3-0 in the five games Matthews missed, most recently falling 4-3 to the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.
The reigning Hart Trophy winner told reporters Tuesday that he was feeling good and targeting a return for Wednesday’s game.
Matthews has recorded 25 goals and 53 points in 47 games this season. He will likely be slotted alongside Michael Bunting and William Nylander against the Blackhawks. This has been one of the best lines in the NHL this season, and the Maple Leafs are in no rush to change what was working for them prior to Matthews’ most recent ailment.
“To be honest, I'm not certain whether there was one specific incident,” Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe previously told reporters on Jan. 27. “I noticed him in a little discomfort a couple of times through the game but didn't think much of it at the time."
Matthews previously missed time with an undefined injury for two games, before returning to the lineup on Jan. 14 after sitting out two games.
In a corresponding move, the Maple Leafs loaned forward Alex Steeves to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
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