Toronto Maple Leafs star centre Auston Matthews and goaltender Frederik Andersen will both make their returns to the lineup against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.
Matthews missed two games with a wrist injury and will look to return to his Hart Trophy-caliber form against the Oilers, as the Maple Leafs attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Oilers. Toronto has shut out Edmonton in back-to-back games, winning 4-0 on Saturday and 3-0 on Monday.
Toronto's young superstar is playing at a blistering pace, recording 18 goals and 31 points through 20 games and was named February's North Division Player of the Month. Mitch Marner has played at an All-Star level, but Matthews has been the team MVP thus far and will certainly be welcomed back warmly.
“It's always a challenge coming back from injuries. It’s tough not playing, it sucks watching and not being able to get into games and keep your rhythm," Matthews told reporters on Tuesday. "That’s the biggest thing for me. Hopefully, I’ll get back into a game. Just got to make sure I’m moving my legs out there, keeping my shifts short and playing smart."
Alexander Barabanov will be taken out of the lineup to make room for Matthews, head coach Sheldon Keefe said Wednesday.
Andersen has missed the team's last four games with what's been labeled as a "lower-body injury," but his teammates have performed admirably in his absence. Jack Campbell made 30 saves in his shutout effort in the first leg of the three-game series, while Michael Hutchinson followed up with a 31-save performance of his own. One could make the argument that both goaltenders are playing some of the best hockey of their careers. Campbell, in particular, is making a decent case to become the nominal starter eventually.
Andersen has posted a 11-3-2 record with a 2.69 GAA and .905 save percentage this season.
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