It is the news that Toronto Maple Leafs fans have been waiting to hear for six games, Auston Matthews returns to the line-up tonight. Matthews joins the team, as they head to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 23, 2017
Auston Matthews Returns from Injury
Matthews has missed the past six games with what the team was calling an upper-body injury. Matthews himself had yet to reveal what was ailing him until just yesterday. He told the media that he was dealing with concussion symptoms.
— HockeyNightInCanada (@hockeynight) December 23, 2017
While that news is concerning, the fact that he is returning and seems to be in good spirits is a positive for Leafs fans. The team was successful in their first stint without the young superstar, winning all five games without him. Unfortunately, this time around they were not as fortunate as they are 2-4 in their last six games.
Matthews will bring his uncanny ability to possess the puck back to a struggling Leafs offence. He currently boasts a 52.2 Corsi for percentage, good for fifth on the team. The Leafs managed 14 goals in his six-game absence. Unfortunately, eight of the goals came in the 8-1 thrashing of the Carolina Hurricanes. Without that game, they have only managed six goals in the other five games without their leader. Matthews also leads the team in points with 26 and is tied for second in goals with Nazem Kadri (13).
While the team struggled without him, the team Matthews will be returning to has a different feel than the one he last played with. Although no trades have been made the resurgence of Mitch Marner and to some extent, William Nylander will come as a bright sign for the team. Nylander will definitely benefit from having Matthews back. If the Leafs can get all three youngsters to score and produce night in, night out it could bode well for them going forward.
Toronto fans can finally watch their star youngster. For hockey fans, they get to watch one of the best players in the game return.
TORONTO, CANADA – OCTOBER 02: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates during an NHL preseason game against the Montreal Canadiens at Air Canada Centre on October 2, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) .