Toronto Maple Leafs star Matthews sidelined for at least three weeks with knee sprain

Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a knee sprain, the team announced Friday.

The 25-year-old centre has 25 goals and 53 points in 47 contests this season.

Matthews missed two games earlier this month with an undisclosed injury and an illness.

Last season's Hart Trophy winner as NHL MVP was on the ice for Mitch Marner's overtime goal against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

The team said in a tweet the injury was suffered during that game.

“(He is) such a big part of our team and one of the best players in the world,” Toronto captain John Tavares said of Matthews. “Hopefully he gets back here as quick as possible. He’ll do everything that needs to be done to do that and be ready to play.”

Tavares skated between Marner and Michael Bunting at Friday's morning skate, while Pontus Holmberg centred William Nylander and Calle Jarnkrok.

“For us as a team, we have to come together and, not really try and fill the void, but just play to our team identity and what's made us successful,” Tavares added. “We’ve shown good depth throughout throughout the season.“

"(There is an) opportunity for other guys to step up.”

The injury will prevent Matthews from taking part in next week's NHL All-Star Game in Florida. The NHL announced Friday that Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov will replace Matthews on the Atlantic Division roster.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan, 27, 2023.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had the Maple Leafs defeating the New York Islanders. In fact, Toronto defeated the New York Rangers.