Nothing too fancy or cute.

On Wednesday morning, that was how Auston Matthews described how he figured he would play in his first recreation in additional than a month.

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Later within the day, Matthews didn’t again up his phrases.

A 14-game absence didn’t seem to discourage the Leafs celebrity to any nice diploma, as he scored two objectives and had an help within the Leafs’ sixth residence win in a row, a 5-Three determination towards the San Jose Sharks at Scotiabank Area.

Matthews, who suffered a left shoulder damage in a recreation towards Winnipeg on Oct. 27, fired a shot over the blocker of Sharks goalie Aaron Dell within the first interval throughout a Toronto energy play, this after Matthews arrange John Tavares for a power-play objective earlier than the sport was 4 minutes outdated.

Because the story has been written for the Leafs for a lot of the 2018-19 season, the victory was the results of the work of a number of sources.

The magical Mitch Marner had three assists, tying his profession excessive, and a mark he has reached 10 instances.

Tavares scored two objectives, giving him 17. Goaltender Frederik Andersen made 38 saves.

The Leafs, as a complete, improved to 18-8-0. Their 36 factors are tied for essentially the most within the Nationwide Hockey League with the Buffalo Sabres.

Matthews has 12 objectives in 12 video games.

Leafs coach Mike Babcock wouldn’t say after the Leafs’ non-obligatory morning skate whether or not he would put Matthews again between outdated linemates Patrick Marleau and Kasperi Kapanen. Because it turned out, he didn’t.

Matthews centred Andreas Johnsson and Kapanen, whereas Marleau skated with Nazem Kadri and Connor Brown.

With Frederik Gauthier a wholesome scratch, Par Lindholm was between Tyler Ennis and Josh Leivo on the fourth line.

Tavares stayed because the centre with Marner and Zach Hyman.

Of the three Leafs objectives within the first interval, the third, by Tavares at 19:42, may need been the prettiest.

After breaking his stick within the defensive zone, Marner raced previous the bench, grabbed a brand new one from alert assistant gear supervisor Bobby Hastings and with the assistance of Hyman, arrange Tavares for a tap-in. Because the Leafs celebrated, Marner pointed again on the bench in appreciation.

Every membership scored as soon as within the second interval as Toronto took a 4-2 lead into the second intermission.

Toronto’s objective got here early, with the second power-play unit reminding the group of 19,362 that it may be as succesful as the highest unit.

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Johnsson made a high quality play in entrance of the online, getting the puck to Marleau, who wired a shot previous Dell. It was profession objective No. 541 for Marleau, and in addition his first towards his former group. With the objective, Marleau has scored towards all 31 NHL golf equipment.

San Jose answered lower than three minutes later when Joe Pavelski completed throughout a Sharks energy play at 4:18.

Tomas Hertl scored the Sharks objective within the first interval. Melker Karlsson scored with two minutes remaining.

Every time Matthews has returned from an damage – 4 instances because the begin of final season – he has scored at the very least one objective.

What was Matthews anticipating in drawing on from his experiences final 12 months in comparable conditions?

“Retaining issues easy, not getting too far forward of myself,” Matthews mentioned. “I’ve not performed in a recreation in over a month, so you continue to have to search out your recreation, get your legs again underneath you, tempo of enjoying, timing, I feel that simply comes again over time.

“Particularly that first interval, simply attempt to preserve issues easy and never be too fancy or cute.”

Good one, Auston. Good one.


Maple Leafs’ Connor Brown (left) and San Jose Sharks’ Joakim Ryan get tousled throughout Wednesday night’s recreation at Scotiabank Area. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Solar)

ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO

Matthews is again.

Will we be saying the identical about William Nylander sooner or later within the coming days, if not on Saturday?

Matthews is among the many Leafs preserving his fingers crossed.

“We hope to get him again, after all,” Matthews mentioned. “He’s a giant a part of this group and the clock is type of ticking.

“Hopefully that will get resolved as a result of all people desires him right here. Us as gamers and figuring out him, he desires to be right here too.”

The Leafs and the restricted free agent are mentioned to be only a few hundred thousand {dollars} aside (per 12 months) in contract negotiations, as Leafs Nation holds its breath with the deadline to signal Nylander looming at 5 p.m. on Saturday. If there isn’t a deal by then, Nylander can’t play within the NHL this season. And there was no indication the Leafs would moderately commerce Nylander than preserve him.

Babcock has been beating the Nylander drum for the previous week, steadfast in his conviction that the Leafs may have the 22-year-old in uniform quickly.

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Anybody who doubts the potential for the Leafs with each Matthews and Nylander within the lineup hasn’t been paying consideration. The Leafs had been in fourth general previous to video games on Wednesday. Including these two to a wholesome lineup will spell doom for the opposition on most nights.

“Willie is an efficient participant, he’s in fine condition, he has nice edges and might skate,” Babcock mentioned. “I simply consider Willie likes it right here. We love him right here and he’s a giant a part of it.

“And so we predict he shall be again. We predict he shall be up and operating in a few weeks. We’re going to play him when he will get again.”

Nylander, in the meantime, skated with a junior group in Sweden on Wednesday. He occurred to be carrying his Leafs helmet through the exercise.

What did Matthews see in one other cerebral teammate, Marner, as he watched for the previous month?

“Looks like each evening he will get you on the sting of your seat, even watching as a participant,” Matthews mentioned. “He has been dominant.”


Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen (left) and Ron Hainsey keep watch over the play throughout Wednesday night’s recreation at Scotiabank Area. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Solar)

A WAY WITH WORDS

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer is aware of Kadri higher than simply about anybody within the NHL who doesn’t work for the Leafs.

In 2006, when DeBoer was the final supervisor and coach of the Kitchener Rangers, the Ontario Hockey League membership drafted Kadri 18th general. In 2008, Kadri helped lead the Rangers to an OHL championship title.

To a level, then, one may argue that DeBoer helped Kadri turn out to be the participant he’s at the moment.

Quick-forward to final January, when Kadri and Joe Thornton fought throughout a recreation in Toronto, which featured Kadri pulling out a fistful of Thornton’s beard and tossing it to the ice. The battle, two seconds into the sport, got here after Kadri and Thornton slashed and whacked at one another previous to the opening draw earlier than each had been tossed out of the circle.

When the Leafs and Sharks met earlier in November in San Jose, Kadri clearly had a goal on his again. DeBoer was requested whether or not in Kitchener he needed to mood Kadri’s want to play on the sting. DeBoer lumped Thornton into his reply.

“I like Naz, love how he performs,” DeBoer mentioned on Wednesday morning. “I feel with Joe Thornton, all I’d say is, I hope when Naz is 38 and enjoying on reconstructed knees and had the profession that Joe has had, that the following era of gamers provides Naz the quantity of respect that he deserves and has earned. That’s a lesson.”

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So was the Kadri/Thornton affair previously?

“That’s within the rearview mirror, yep,” DeBoer mentioned.

Nonetheless, it’s a disgrace these groups don’t meet greater than twice a season, eh?


Toronto Maple Leafs John Tavares (proper) celebrates his objective, his is with Zach Hyman throughout 1st interval motion towards San Jose Sharks on the Scotiabank Area in Toronto on Wednesday November 28, 2018. Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Solar/Postmedia

POINT SHOTS

The Philadelphia Flyers positioned goaltender Calvin Pickard on waivers on Wednesday. The expectation on this nook (and plenty of others) is that the Leafs, who misplaced Pickard off waivers on Oct. 2, will take into account strongly claiming the 26-year-old. Toronto requires the depth within the group and neither Jeff Glass nor Eamon McAdam has been leaving American Hockey League opponents in suits of frustration The Leafs late on Tuesday evening traded defenceman Andrew Nielsen to the Calgary Flames for ahead Morgan Klimchuk, who has performed in a single NHL recreation, that coming final February. Actually on the floor, the Leafs acquired Klimchuk for depth on the Toronto Marlies roster. Klimchuk was a first-round choose by Calgary in 2013 (28th general), and each one of many different 29 gamers chosen within the first spherical have performed in additional NHL video games (as have 63 taken after him). In 204 video games within the AHL, the six-foot, 190-pound Klimchuk has 100 factors Nielsen, drafted 65th general by the Leafs in 2015, had a few promising years with the Marlies, however performed in simply eight video games this season. Shut pal Travis Dermott mentioned it was “upsetting” that Nielsen was traded, but understood the scenario. “A man I acquired actually shut with from Day 1 right here,” Dermott mentioned. “The hockey world will be fairly merciless typically, however I feel he’ll get some good alternatives there. Personally, selfishly, I’m fairly upset about it. We now have lots of good D right here. Robust to slot in when you’ve this many good prospects at a younger age the place you will be missed type of simply. If he’s not getting his alternatives, there have to be some fairly good gamers forward of him (with the Marlies). It reveals good for us and hopefully it’s good for him.” DeBoer on Marleau after the previous Shark turned simply the 11th NHLer to play in 1,600 video games: “He’s a linebacker on skates. He’s bodily so gifted, each along with his skating skill and in addition his physique. Individuals don’t notice how huge a person he’s and the way highly effective he’s. He doesn’t shrink back from getting within the corners and doing soiled work too, which makes all of it extra spectacular. I’m a giant fan, as is everybody.”

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