Mike Babcock announced today that Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews will be a game-time decision for tonight’s game. He left practice this morning, and it was revealed that he is dealing with “soreness”. Chris Johnston had the update from Leafs practice this morning:
Auston Matthews is a game-time decision with “soreness,” per Mike Babcock.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) November 6, 2017
The good news is that the injury does not sound too severe based on Babcock’s word choice. Matthews has never missed a game since coming into the league at the beginning of last season. Even on the Leafs worst nights this season, he has been a force to be reckoned with. Through 15 games, he leads the Leafs in both goals and points, with 10 goals and 18 total points on the season.
Chris Johnston also provided a projected lineup, should Matthews be unable to play:
These were Leafs lines after Matthews left skate:
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) November 6, 2017
Most noteworthy is William Nylander slotting in at centre on the first line. Dominic Moore appears to be back in, while Kasperi Kapanen is likely a healthy scratch. There remains a strong possibility that whatever is ailing Matthews will not be enough to keep him out of the game. In that case, these lines would change again, and Matthews would assume is usual position as the first line centre.
What This Means
It goes without saying that losing Matthews, even for a game, would be a huge loss for the Leafs. After coming off of a dismal road trip that saw them go 1-3-0 through California and St. Louis, the team will be looking for a bounce-back effort on home ice against the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. They could use all the star power they can get to help them get back on track.
Expect more news on Matthews’ status around game time.
Main Photo: DETROIT, MI – APRIL 01: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs prepares for a first period face off while playing the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on April 1, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images