Leafs’ Auston Matthews injures shoulder Saturday night
Less than two minutes into the second period on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs season may have taken a turn for the worse.
Auston Matthews, who leads the NHL in goals with 10 entering Saturday, left the game due to a shoulder injury.
Auston Matthews will not return to tonight’s game due to a shoulder injury. #LeafsForever
Matthews skated slowly to the bench following a hit by Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba as the center drove to the net. He appeared to be favoring his left shoulder and was in pain on the bench before heading to the locker room.
A closer look at the Jacob Trouba hit that sent Auston Matthews to the dressing room with what looked like a shoulder injury pic.twitter.com/MRRxV7Qn94
“He’s got a shoulder injury [and] we’ll know more on Monday,” confirmed head coach Mike Babcock following the game. “He’s not practicing tomorrow and he won’t be playing on Monday [against Calgary].
“He’s not ready right away, for sure.”
Injuries are not a new thing for the former Calder Trophy winner.
The 21-year-old suffered a shoulder injury prior to being selected first overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. After playing all 82 games, and scoring 40 goals in his rookie campaign, he suffered three separate injuries and missed 20 games last season.
The last of the injuries was a Grade-2 shoulder separation after being hit by Islanders forwards Adam Pelech and Cal Clutterbuck in February. That injury kept him out for a month and may have been a contributing factor to Matthews’ listless performance in the Leafs first-round playoff loss to Boston.
Auston Matthews heads to the room after this double hit from Adam Pelech and Cal Clutterbuck. Suspicion is that it’s a shoulder ailment. pic.twitter.com/VWtIlQUUhj
Toronto is one club that can potentially absorb the loss of their top center for a prolonged period of time. With John Tavares and Nazem Kadri stepping up into a top-two role and natural center Par Lindholm potentially shifting from left wing to the middle on the third line.
However, they will certainly miss his point production. Matthews was leading the Leafs in points (16) entering Saturday.
“[Matthews]is a big part of this team, everyone knows that,” said Mitch Marner, who had two assists in the Leafs come-from-behind win. “He’s a needed player on this team and hopefully we’ll get him back soon.
Only time will tell how long Matthews will be out. Last season, without him in the lineup the Maple Leafs went 11-7-2.
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