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Maple leaves from Toronto
Auston Matthews will be an in-game decision for the Maple Leafs when they face the Boston Bruins on Saturday (7pm ET; NHLN, CBC, SNO, SNW, NESN, SN NOW).
The center missed the last two games. He missed Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators and the 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings due to an undisclosed injury.
“He woke up sick today, which made things complicated, so we’re not entirely sure what condition he’s in,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said Thursday. “…we’ll see where we are on Saturday.”
Matthews last played Sunday when he scored a goal and four shots in 17:29 on the ice in a 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Keefe said the injury was not something that happened to the Flyers, but something that “lingered for a while”.
Matthews was on a five-game winning streak (three goals, four assists) before the injury and has 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) in 41 games.
“Auston is one of the best players in the world, if not the best, so obviously we’re better when he’s in the lineup,” said the Maple Leafs defender. Rasmus Sandin he said on Thursday. “We’ve been working hard tonight to try to make up for it, but he’s got big boots to fill. If he’s there tonight, he’s probably betting the puck, if not two, three or four.” — Dave McCarthy
Blues St Louis
Nick Leddy is expected to return for the Blues whey and then host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (8pm ET; BSMW, BSSUN, ESPN+, SN NOW).
The defender, who has 11 assists in 39 games this season, missed the last four games with an upper body injury, took part in Thursday morning skateboarding but did not play in the 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames. On Friday he trained fully and was paired Justyna Faulka.
“We’ll see how it goes tomorrow after today’s training,” the St. Louis, Craig Berube. “He was fine. He looked good. I think tomorrow morning will be a big warning sign.”
The Blues have assigned a defender Dmitry Samorukov to Springfield in the American Hockey League, which means Leddy is likely to return on Saturday.
Berube also said forward Vladimir Tarasenko I was skating alone before Friday’s practice.
Tarasenko, who has scored 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 34 games this season, missed the last six games after injuring his right hand on December 31 in a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
He is expected to be reassessed in four weeks. — Lou Korac
New Jersey Devils
Nathan Bastian could return to the Devils against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
The striker has been out since injuring his shoulder in a 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals on November 26. He has eight points (three goals, five assists) in 21 games this season.
Bastian returned to training for the first time on Monday. He trained again on Thursday before participating in morning skating ahead of Friday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks (10pm ET; HULU, ESPN+, SN NOW).
“We’ve been able to speed things up,” Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said on Friday. “It’s really just about getting enough reps and keeping him comfortable, so you go day-to-day and we’ll see where he is in the next few days.”
After back-to-back games against the Ducks and Kings, the Devils complete a five-game foray with the San Jose Sharks on Monday and the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.
Defender Jan Marino he is also on a trip and attending training wearing a non-contact jersey. He missed the last nine games due to an upper body injury.
Ruff said Marino is still “a little further” than Bastian.
“Every day she’s there is a step in the right direction,” said Ruff. — Dan Arritt