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Eastern Conference

Leafs’ Auston Matthews Practices With Team, Still No Timetable

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The Toronto Maple Leafs saw a positive step in the recovery of Auston Matthews as he practiced with the team on Wednesday for the 1st time since injuring his shoulder on February 22nd.

“I don’t know what they (the medical staff) will do,” Toronto head coach Mike Babcock said (h/t NHL.com). “I just noticed he was wearing red today; we don’t have a whole lot of red in our uniform.”

There is currently no timetable for his return.

Matthews skated wearing a red non-contact jersey on his own prior to joining the first 20 minutes of the main session Wednesday but did not participate in line rushes or special-teams drills and departed after 20 minutes.

“He’s working hard on his conditioning and the big thing about this injury, you have your legs,” Babcock said of Matthews on Saturday.

“When you come back from the previous injury, you don’t have any legs because you didn’t do anything so I think jumping right in and being ready to go when it’s time to come back will be positive for him. He won’t have to get his conditioning back; he’ll have it back already.”

The Maple Leafs are 7-6-2 in the 15 games that Matthews has missed and 1-2-2 in the five games he’s missed since the February 22nd game.

“I think it’s good for him mentally instead of just hanging out by yourself,” Babcock said.

“We were gone for 10 days and these are his buddies so who do you hang out in Toronto with? I think the priority for him obviously is to do as much as he can each day and then when he’s ready or over-ready, we’ll get him back in the lineup.”

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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