Matthews confirmed suspicions on Friday that he suffered a concussion after he had been labelled with an upper-body injury. After a video review, the officials agreed with Mike Babcock & Co., ruling centre Kevin Hayes was over Toronto's blueline when Grabner brought the puck into the zone.
The match against the Arizona Coyotes on the 28th starts a three-game trip before the Leafs return to the Air Canada Centre to start a six-game home stand on January 2. Anticipation and familiarity played a big role in the only goal of the first, and the Leafs entered the intermission feeling good about their game. He still leads the Leafs in points with 26 (13 goals and 13 assists).
After missing six straight games, skating on his own most of the week and practicing with teammates for the first time since suffering a concussion in Pittsburgh on December 9, Leafs center Auston Matthews will make his return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
Babcock, after watching his team lose all four of its road games with Matthews out, relished the fact that No. 34 was going to be back in uniform, which was confirmed after the morning skate.
Matthews was injured on December 9 when Toronto played the Pittsburgh Penguins and he collided with Morgan Rielly late in the game.
While the team struggled without him, the team Matthews will be returning to has a different feel than the one he last played with.
Ron Hainsey and Patrick Marleau did not take participate in the morning skate, as they were given some veteran dispensation, but both will be in the lineup against the Rangers, who lost 4-3 to New Jersey in a shootout on Thursday.
The Leafs, off until they congregate in the Phoenix area for practice on December 27, head into the Christmas break with a record of 22-14-1 and 45 points, good for second place in the Atlantic Division. And Saturday, he showed a similar flair for coming through big in high-profile situations, adding a goal to his game total when he netted his 14th of the year at 11:22 of the second to put Toronto up 3-1. NY scratched defenceman Steven Kampfer. "So what you do with the puck is really important. We have to respond".