Matthews ‘doing well’ after taking kick, Samsonov’s recovery from injury continues

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Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe uttered two rather meaningful words Friday afternoon.

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“He is fine.”

Keefe was referring to Auston Matthews, who left practice early after taking a kick.

If Matthews has to deal with a bruise against the Buffalo Sabers on Saturday, it will be nothing new for the defending Hart Trophy winner.

“I know he plays through a lot of things,” Leafs captain John Tavares said. “Since I came here (in 2018) he’s had a lot of different injuries, bumps and bruises and is handling those things well. You never want to see Auston leave practice. I’d like to think he’ll be fine.

Although the lines and defense pairings did not change on Friday – forwards Nick Robertson and Wayne Simmonds were extras – Keefe said a final decision on Saturday’s line-up has not been made.

Goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who suffered a knee injury Nov. 5 against the Boston Bruins, was not on the ice despite participating in previous practices.

“He’s in the gym and still working on a comeback, but he’s not gotten to the point where he’s pushing to come back,” Keefe said. “He still has care to do.”

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