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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Auston Matthews Could Play Against Rangers

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews could be in the lineup against the New York Rangers when the teams take the ice on Saturday.

Matthews, who missed the past six games because of a concussion, said Friday that a decision will be made after the morning skate.

“I think it’s just talking with the training staff,” Matthews said after participating in his first practice since getting injured. “No decision is going to be made until tomorrow. I’m definitely feeling a lot better. I feel good out there on the ice. Obviously just trying to get my legs back.”

Matthews was injured when he collided with Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly during the third period of Toronto’s a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 9th.

“I think just later on after Pittsburgh, just colliding with Morgan and then later on that night, the next day, I wasn’t feeling very well,” Matthews said, when discussing the injury with reporters on Friday.

“Just normal concussion symptoms, I guess. Don’t need to go any farther than that.”

“Just like last time, it’s nice to get back out there with the whole team and get skating again,” said Matthews.

Matthews leads the team this season with 26 points, including 13 goals and 13 assists, in 26 games and Toronto is not the same team when he is out of the lineup.

“It’s very frustrating,” Matthews said.

“You never like missing games and two back-to-back injuries like that where you miss time, it [stinks]. Obviously the main thing is to be healthy. That’s my main concern, and obviously the training staff and everybody else’s, so like I said, I feel good and it feels good to get back on the ice.”

 

Eastern Conference

Penguins Keeping Faith in Matt Murray

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The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to support goalie Matt Murray despite his struggles this season, leading the team to temporarily usurp him for Casey DeSmith.

Despite the downward fall, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan believes that the time off the ice will help him focus on work with goaltending coach Mike Buckley, and the team is maintaining both their faith and their confidence that Murray can return to form.

“I think Matt’s mental toughness and the experiences that he’s gone through, he can certainly draw on and help him get to where we all know he’s capable of being,” Sullivan said (h/t NHL.com). “Right now, he’s got an opportunity to spend some time with [Buckley] and work on some of the aspects of his game that we think can help him improve. He can build his confidence.

“This by no means diminishes our faith and our trust in Matt Murray. We know he’s a real good goalie. He’s an accomplished goalie.”

DeSmith understands his role, as backup.

“That’s my job. Just to show up when I get the chance,” DeSmith said. “I think so far, I’ve given the team a chance to win when I’ve played. I take pride in that.”

Murray is 4-4-1 with a 3.87 GAA, .886 save percentage and one shutout in nine starts for Pittsburgh this season.

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Eastern Conference

Devils Place Brian Boyle on IR

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The New Jersey Devils have placed center Brian Boyle on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, according to an official team announcement.

During Sunday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, Boyle was on the receiving end of a devastating hit from Dustin Byfuglien, which you can see below.

In a corresponding move, the Devils have recalled Pavel Zacha from the AHL.

 

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Boston Bruins

Bruins’ Tuukka Rask Rejoins Team, Jakub Zboril Recalled

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The Boston Bruins will see the return of netminder Tuukka Rask, who took a few days away from the team for a personal leave.

In corresponding moves, Dan Vlader is on his way back to the Providence Bruins while Jakub Zboril will be recalled. Additionally, the team officially announced that both Jeremy Lauzon and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson will stay on regular recall.

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