NHL Buzz: Matthews out for Maple Leafs with undisclosed injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews did not play for the Maple Leafs when they faced the Nashville Predators on Wednesday because of an undisclosed injury.

Matthews did not practice Tuesday but did participate in an optional morning skate. 

“I would say he is just day to day,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He’s out there putting in lots of work and all that, so he’s clearly not too far away. So, he’s improving daily, we’ll see where he’s at for tomorrow (against the Detroit Red Wings).

Matthews last played Sunday, when he had a goal and four shots in 17:29 of ice time in a 6-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Keefe said the injury was not something that occurred against the Flyers but something that has been “lingering for a while.”

Matthews has a five-game point streak (three goals, four assists) and has 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) in 41 games. It was the first game he’s missed this season.

William Nylander will move from right wing to center to replace Matthews on a line with left wing Michael Bunting and right wing Pierre Engvall against the Predators.

Forward Bobby McMann, who was recalled from Toronto of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, made his NHL debut on a line with left wing Alexander Kerfoot and center David Kampf. McMann has 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 17 games with Toronto of the AHL this season. — Dave McCarthy

Chicago Blackhawks

Patrick Kane skated with coaches prior to practice Wednesday but is doubtful for the Blackhawks when they play the Colorado Avalanche at United Center on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, ALT, ESPN+, SN NOW).

“I think we went this far, so our decision’s probably, why push it?” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “We took this long week for rest, and if he needs another day or two, just take it.

“For myself, I’m hopeful [Kane plays] Saturday (against the Seattle Kraken), probably doubtful tomorrow. It’s just day by day at this point. I don’t think it’s major. Just no point in playing him at 50 percent if he’s not feeling great.”

Kane was on the ice for at least 20 minutes prior to practice but left before it began Wednesday. He’s missed the past two games. It was the first time Kane has missed a game due to injury since he sustained a broken clavicle against the Florida Panthers on Feb. 24, 2015, and missed the rest of that regular season.

The forward said he sustained the lower-body injury after taking a hit from San Jose Sharks forward Evgeny Svechnikov in Chicago’s 5-2 loss Jan. 1.

He has 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in 37 games this season, second on the Blackhawks to forward Max Domi‘s 28 (12 goals, 16 assists) in 39 games.

Goalie Petr Mrazek will start for the Blackhawks against the Avalanche. Goalie Alex Stalock missed his second straight practice with a non COVID-related illness, and goalie Jaxson Stauber was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League. — Tracey Myers

New York Rangers

Chris Kreider will not play for the Rangers against the Dallas Stars on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, BSSW, ESPN+, SN NOW) because of an upper-body injury.

The forward left in the third period of a 4-3 shootout win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. He has 30 points (19 goals, 11 assists) in 42 games this season.

New York coach Gerard Gallant said he doesn’t believe the injury is long-term, and that Kreider will be reevaluated in a few days.

Alexis Lafreniere will take Kreider’s spot on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Kaapo Kakko on Thursday.

The Rangers claimed Jake Leschyshyn off waivers Tuesday. The forward did not have a point in 22 games with the Vegas Golden Knights this season. Leschyshyn had six points (two goals, four assists) in 41 games as a rookie last season.

Dallas Stars

Roope Hintz will not play for the Stars against the Rangers on Thursday because of an upper-body injury.

The forward did not travel for a two-game trip, which began with a 2-1 shootout win against the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

“I’m not concerned about it being long-term, but [he’s] not with us,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said Tuesday.

Hintz sustained the injury late in the first period of a 5-1 win against the Panthers on Sunday. Hintz is second on the Stars with 44 points (19 goals, 25 assists) this season.

To fill Hintz’s spot, Tyler Seguin began the game against the Islanders as the first-line center. 

“Everybody’s dealing with injuries. It’s next man up and you know someone’s misfortune [is] someone’s other opportunity,” DeBoer said. “He’s not overwhelmed by the situation. You’re not sticking a young guy up there that hasn’t been there before.” — Denis P. Gorman

Colorado Avalanche

Denis Malgin is out week to week with an upper-body injury.

The forward left Colorado’s 4-2 loss at the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 5 with an upper body injury and did not play in a 3-2 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 7.

Malgin, who was acquired in a trade with the Maple Leafs on Dec. 19, has one assist in seven games with the Avalanche. He has five points (two goals, three assists) in 30 games this season.

Colorado coach Jared Bednar said that Valeri Nichushkin, who was supposed to be with the team on the recent two-game road trip, was held back due to lingering issues with his ankle. The forward missed his seventh straight game when the Avalanche lost to the Panthers, 5-4 on Tuesday.

“We’re just letting that ankle heal,” Bednar said.

Defenseman Josh Manson (lower body) took to the ice prior to the morning skate Tuesday in a red non-contact jersey, and defenseman Bowen Byram (lower body) has started skating on his own. Neither has a timeline to return. — Ryan Boulding

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