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Matthews' wrist injury affecting shot for Maple Leafs, coach says

Center has no points in three games since return, hopes rest next week will help it heal @NHLdotcom

Auston Matthews' right wrist injury is affecting his shot and how the Toronto Maple Leafs are using the center, coach Sheldon Keefe said Monday.

Matthews, who said the wrist has not healed, has no points on 15 shots in three games since missing two games after aggravating the injury Feb. 24 against the Calgary Flames. Matthews leads the NHL with 18 goals in 23 games but has not scored in five games.

Keefe said Toronto has made adjustments to keep Matthews as comfortable as possible on the ice, which has meant leaning on his strengths other than shooting. The Maple Leafs have lost two of the three games since his return.

"We've moved him around on the power play as a result of that," Keefe said. "He's looking not as comfortable when he's shooting, but he's showing he's very good in a lot of other areas. It doesn't seem to affect his ability to handle the puck or pass the puck. ... He's found ways to generate chances and shots, he's made plays for his linemates. He's brought a lot of positive things to us."

Matthews said he hopes a break in the schedule next week will help the wrist heal; the Maple Leafs have four days off before playing the Flames on March 19. Before that, they'll play four games in six days starting at home against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TSN4, TSN3, NHL.TV).

"It's been all right," Matthews said. "Still need it to progress a bit. But we've got this week here and we've got some rest coming up next week, so hopefully just the rest can get it feeling better. Definitely would like to see it heal a bit."

Matthews, who was averaging 21:54 of ice time in his first 20 games, has averaged 21:11 since returning.

"In time, it's the type of injury that will heal itself," Keefe said. "He just has to work his way through it. We're fortunate to this point with everything we've been told it's not the kind of thing that will get worse. He just has to play through it a little bit, and he's doing a good job of that."

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