NHL Buzz: Matthews out for Maple Leafs vs. Oilers with upper-body injury

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With the 2020-21 season underway, NHL.com will have you covered all season long with the latest news.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews has an upper-body injury and will not play for the Maple Leafs against the Edmonton Oilers at Scotiabank Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TSN4, SNW, NHL.TV).

“With Auston, he’s dealing with some upper-body soreness and he’s going to be a day-to-day situation,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “I’m not too concerned. There was a possibility that he would play today but just wasn’t feeling right in that sense today so we’re going to give it a little bit more time.”

Matthews skated briefly Thursday before leaving the ice. Keefe said Thursday that Matthews wasn’t feeling well after the Maple Leafs’ 3-1 loss to the Oilers on Wednesday.

The Maple Leafs will also be without forward Joe Thornton, who is expected to be out a minimum of four weeks because of a rib fracture. — Mike Zeisberger

New Jersey Devils

Jesper Bratt arrived from Sweden and entered COVID-19 protocol. The forward has started his seven-day quarantine and may be eligible to begin practicing with the Devils next Wednesday.

“We’ve just got to get him through the quarantine process and get him up and running and he’ll be ready to play for us again,” coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday. “I have Zoomed with Jesper, we’ve talked about how the team’s playing, the different situations in the game, our offensive structure, neutral-zone structure. We’ve gone through clips, showed him meetings.

“We’re trying to keep him up to speed, he’s really excited about getting back and getting going. But obviously missing time has hurt him. I think you’ve seen with our team that we started to grow in a lot of situations, we’ve played some great periods of hockey; getting Jesper back in and getting him up and running and getting him full-go is first and foremost for us.” — Mike G. Morreale

Pittsburgh Penguins

Juuso Riikola and Marcus Pettersson will be out multiple games for the Penguins, each with an upper-body injury.
Riikola is out longer term and Pettersson is week to week, coach Mike Sullivan said. The defensemen were injured during a 5-4 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

“Any time our team has faced injuries, it’s always an opportunity for someone else to step up and fill the void,” Sullivan said Thursday. “We believe we’ve got NHL-caliber players here and we believe in the depth that we have.”

The injuries add to a list of injured defensemen that includes Mike Matheson, who is out longer term with an upper-body injury sustained against the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 15. — Wes Crosby

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