Auston Matthews could return to Maple Leafs lineup


The Canadian Press and TSN that said yeaterday that Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs could return from his shoulder ailment on Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I feel ready,” Matthews said after the morning skate at Madison Square Garden. “I feel good and I’m excited to get back in there.

“I just want to play hockey. I kind of know what to expect as far as conditioning; it’s not totally going to be there, but hopefully throughout the first, second, third period I just got better and better, feel better and better after each period and just do what I do. I want to contribute in a number of different ways, just play my game and have fun.”

Matthews got injured during a match when he collided with Maple Leafs defense man Morgan Rielly on Dec. 9. Matthews returned to play two more shifts but said he was not feeling well later that night and the next day. He confirmed Friday he sustained a concussion in the collision.

“The way the injury was, he still was on the ice and still going,” coach Mike Babcock said. “They got protocol for all these things so they went through all that protocol, but he still skated pretty good so it’s not like he’s been sitting around. Now, in saying all that, we’re going to watch the game tonight and we’ll know. I don’t know at this point. I expect him to be good.”

“It’s good to have him, period,” Babcock said. “Any good players, you need them in your lineup as much as you can. Obviously, he’s been off for a while and we look forward to having him back.”