TORONTO– Auston Matthews will not be in the lineup for the Toronto Maple Leafs when they host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, TSN3, NHL.TV) because of an undisclosed injury.
Matthews is day to day. He leads the NHL with 32 goals and is tied for fourth with 53 points.
“We’re not expecting it to be something that is going to hold him out for long,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said Thursday.
Matthews was the first player on the ice for the Maple Leafs’ morning skate but left prior to the main session beginning.
The center missed two games from Feb. 27 to Mar. 1 with a wrist injury and did not play in a 4-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 22 with an upper-body injury.
“It’s similar but not the same (injury), no, and again not something we’re expecting to hold him up here,” Keefe said.
John Tavares replaced Matthews on a line with left wing Alex Galchenyuk and right wing Mitchell Marner.
Center Adam Brooks will play his second game of the season, and first since Jan. 22. He will be on a line with left wing Nicholas Robertson and right wing Jason Spezza, who did not play in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday (undisclosed).
“Just everyone has to step up in [Matthews’] absence,” defenseman Justin Holl said. “Brooks will be in tonight so it’s exciting for him being a Winnipeg kid and I’m sure he’s looking to build on his last performance too (scored goal) and find his second career goal.”
Toronto (28-11-4) is first in the seven-team Scotia North Division, five points ahead of second-place Winnipeg. The top four teams qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.