Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock has revealed that his star player Auston Matthews will be "out for a bit" and is considered day-to-day with a shoulder injury.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie reported that the young phenom is expected to undergo an MRI later today after leaving early in Thursday night’s win over the New York Islanders. Babcock added that the Leafs will know more about his status tomorrow. Toronto will be back in action Saturday night at home against the Boston Bruins.
"Put a smile on your face. You get healthier quicker when you’re smiling. He’s a passionate guy, he wants to play. I’m not very concerned about him, he’s fine. We were joking around in there a minute ago. He’ll be ready to go," Babcock said.
Matthews, who was the only Leafs member missing from practice today, left the game in the final minutes of regulation after colliding with Cal Clutterbuck and Adam Pelech of the Islanders at the same time. Matthews went back to the bench gingerly and eventually headed to the dressing room after a short discussion with the trainers.
Before he left the contest, Matthews scored the tying goal that forced the game into overtime and eventually a shootout that resulted in a 4-3 win for Toronto.
It is not the first time Matthews will miss time with an ailment: he has missed time twice this season with upper-body injures, the latter of which he admitted was a concussion.
Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos tried to remain positive on social media, following Babcock's statement, saying that the indications from last night werethaty Matthews' shoulder injury wasn’t serious pending the MRI to confirm, and that some chatter compared his injury to the one Mitch Marner suffered last season against the Columbus Blue Jackets that cost him five games.
In 53 games this season, the 20-year-old forward has tallied 28 goals and 22 assists.