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4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT, November 28, 2018
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario  Attendance: 19,362

Leafs' Matthews could return against Sharks

San Jose Sharks at Toronto Maple Leafs

  1. The Sharks fell to the Sabres, 3-2, in overtime in Buffalo on Tuesday. Despite the loss, San Jose has earned at least one point in six of its last eight games (4-2-2). The Sharks fell to 3-5 in games decided past regulation this season.
  2. Joe Pavelski scored both Sharks goals in the loss to Buffalo, his 14th and 15th of the season in just 25 games. That's the fastest he's ever reached 15 goals in his career, besting the 31 games it took him in both the 2014-15 and 15-16 seasons.
  3. Toronto picked up a 5-3 win when these teams met in San Jose on November 15, despite the Sharks outshooting the Leafs 45-34. Prior to a Toronto shootout win in the final meeting between these teams last season, San Jose had won 10 straight in the series.
  4. The Maple Leafs beat the Bruins, 4-2, at home on Monday, and have now won back-to-back games by a combined 10-2. Toronto has only lose once this season when allowing two or fewer goals.
  5. Auston Matthews is expected to return to the lineup tonight. In his three previous "first games back" after returning from injuries, he has five points (4g, 1a) and 11 shots on goal, with at least one goal in each.
  6. Both teams have scored at least three goals 17 times, tied for third most in the NHL (Nashville & Ottawa, 19). Toronto's 16-1-0 record when doing so is second best, behind Buffalo's 14-0-1 record. San Jose is 12-2-3, 18th in the league.

TORONTO -- Auston Matthews said he is ready to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup.

The question is whether the team's medical staff will clear him in time for the game against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena or wait until Saturday when the Maple Leafs visit the Minnesota Wild.

The Maple Leafs did not play Tuesday while the Sharks were in Buffalo, where they lost 3-2 in overtime to the surging Sabres, who won their 10th straight.

It was the second straight loss for the Sharks, who dropped a 6-0 decision on the road to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.

Joe Pavelski scored twice in the final nine minutes for the Sharks on Tuesday and leads the team with 15 goals.

As for the Maple Leafs, Matthews has missed 14 games since Oct. 27 after he injured his shoulder in a collision with Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba.

"In my mind, I feel ready to play (Wednesday)," Matthews said Tuesday after his first practice with contact. "The guys took it easy on me for the most part, but just in those battle drills and competing and stuff, everything felt good."

Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said final clearance for Matthews would not come until it is discussed with athletic therapist Paul Ayotte.

The 21-year-old center has 10 goals and six assists in 11 games this season.

"He looked fine out there (Tuesday) so we'll see how he is," Babcock said.

The Maple Leafs (17-8-0) are 9-5-0 this season without Matthews, including a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins Monday night. The Maple Leafs have won five straight home games.

"It's never about one player, it's about the team," Babcock said. "We have a good leadership and the guys have worked hard most nights. We've had a tough schedule."

Mitch Marner has been playing particularly well. He had three assists against the Bruins on Monday and has six goals and 27 assists in 25 games.

At times, it has looked as though Marner is playing a different game than the other players at times.

"I think that's what you think with all good players, is it not?" Babcock said. "I think, if you're watching (Boston), I think you think when (David Pastrnak) gets the puck and he's playing a different game than everybody else too.

"What's amazing is most of us have no time and space whatsoever. We're banging it here and banging it there and chasing it. Then the really good guys seem to have all the time in the world and that's what you're talking about. That's why they're just gliding all over the rink and it's seems effortless and it seems like fun and they have the puck all the time and you can't figure out why. They're just better than everybody else."

The Sharks (12-8-5) are 4-5-3 on the road. They are considered somewhat of a disappointment so far this season.

"We'll find it," said backup goaltender Aaron Dell, who could get the start Wednesday after Martin Jones got the call Tuesday. "It's coming more and more. We were a little too offensive-minded to start and then we went polar opposite for a while and tried to play too much defense. Now, we're going back and forth trying to find that middle. A little more time and we should be able to get that perfected and we'll be a tough team to beat."

The Maple Leafs beat the Sharks 5-3 in San Jose on Nov. 15.

"I get the frustration," Sharks defenseman Joakim Ryan told the San Jose Mercury News. "It's natural for a fan base. Everyone in here grew up being a fan and you're (upset) when the team loses. That's what you should expect. It's completely understandable. It's frustrating when you're not consistent. We could be doing a lot better. But considering how it's gone, we're still in a good spot."

"We still have a lot of the same core guys, but some of the new guys that have come in are pretty important pieces," San Jose defenseman Brenden Dillon said. "We know we're a good team and we know we're going to be a great team."

Updated November 27, 2018

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