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At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Maple Leafs

by Mike Brophy /

TORONTO -- Forward Shawn Matthias hopes the opportunity to skate on the Toronto Maple Leafs top line will allow him to kick start his season from an offensive perspective.

The 27-year-old left wing will play on a line with center Tyler Bozak and right wing PA Parenteau when the Maple Leafs host the Columbus Blue Jackets at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; SN, FS-O).

Matthias was promoted to the top line replacing injured James van Riemsdyk, who will miss 6-8 weeks with a fractured foot.

After scoring 18 goals with the Vancouver Canucks last season, Matthias has struggled offensively this season. He has three goals and 12 points in 39 games and has one goal in his las 23 games.

Matthias played with Bozak and Parenteau for 18 games earlier in the season and is looking forward to a reunion and a chance to play on a scoring line.

"With James out there is lots of opportunity for a couple of guys," Matthias said. "We have a young guy (Josh Leivo) coming up for his first game and I'm excited to play with [Bozak] and PA. We played together earlier in the year and we had some fun and some chemistry. They are good players who make plays and have a lot of skill. They have been hot lately. I want to come in and help them and I know they will help me."

Although he has not been scoring with the same regularity as last season, Matthias said his personal statistics are not what drives him.

"I thought I was playing well with (Byron) Froese and (Brad) Boyes," Matthias said. "I thought we were doing a good job with the role we were given. We were playing in the other team's end and we had good possession numbers. We were rolling around in the corners and making it hard for their defensemen. I just have to play the same style I've been playing: getting in on the forecheck, winning puck battles, being hard and heavy down low and getting to the front of the net."

That said, Matthias admitted it has been frustrating not scoring.

"You obviously want to score goals, but there are years when things are a little different," he said. "I think I have done a better job this season passing. I already have as many assists as I had last season. I feel like I have been playing better as of late."

Toronto coach Mike Babcock said Matthias needs to step up to the plate if he hopes to remain on the line with Bozak and Parenteau.

"Bozak and Parenteau are playing well and someone's going to get the opportunity (to play with them)," Babcock said. "I'm just going to watch and he's getting the first shot at it. Good for him. Let's him going real well and that will be good for us too. We need some offense. James is a guy who scores and helps people score."

The Blue Jackets are coming off a 5-2 loss against the New York Islanders on Tuesday and have lost four (0-3-1) in a row. They didn't skate Wednesday.

Following the loss to the Islanders, Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky questioned the Maple Leafs' preparation.

"If we didn't know they were going to be prepared to play, [Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella] told us before the game," Dubinsky said. "We still came out the way we did. It's just unacceptable. It makes me sick. I don't have much else besides that."

Here are the projected lineups:


Kerby Rychel - Brandon Dubinsky - Josh Anderson

Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Brandon Saad

Boone Jenner - William Karlsson - Cam Atkinson

Rene Bourque - Gregory Campbell - Jared Boll

Ryan Murray - Seth Jones

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Cody Goloubef - Justin Falk

Joonas Korpisalo

Anton Forsberg

Injured: Markus Hannikainen (shoulder), Matt Calvert (knee), Sergei Bobrovsky (groin), David Clarkson (upper body), Curtis McElhinney (ankle), Nick Foligno (upper body)

Scratched: Dalton Prout, Kevin Connauton, Fedor Tyutin


Shawn MatthiasTyler BozakPA Parenteau

Michael GrabnerNazem KadriLeo Komarov

Daniel WinnikPeter HollandJoffrey Lupul

Josh LeivoByron FroeseBrad Boyes

Jake GardinerDion Phaneuf

Martin MarincinMorgan Rielly

Matt HunwickRoman Polak

Injured: James van Riemsdyk (fractured foot), Nick Spaling (upper body)

Scratched: Frank Corrado

James Reimer

Jonathan Bernier

Status report: Leivo skated on a line with center Froese and Boyes at practice Tuesday. … Marincin is likely to play with Corrado scratched. … Tyutin is likely to come out of the lineup with Goloubef replacing him.

Who's hot: Holland has two goals in four games. … Kadri has three points in four games. … Johnson has five points in five games. … Savard has points in back-to-back games.

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