TORONTO — The historic run Auston Matthews is putting together to start this season takes on an even more impressive look when you factor in that he’s operating at less than full health.
A wrist injury kept Matthews from even taking a faceoff for the final 24 minutes of Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames, but it didn’t keep him from picking up assists on both William Nylander’s late tying goal and his winner.
That vaulted Matthews into third spot in the NHL’s scoring race and made him just the third player in Maple Leafs history with points in 18 of 20 games to begin a year. He’s built a sizable lead in goals — 18 to 13 over Edmonton’s Connor McDavid — despite managing an issue that’s required his left wrist to be taped.
He then jammed his right wrist while sliding into the end boards during the second period of Wednesday’s game. Sportsnet cameras showed athletic therapist Paul Ayotte taping that one up on the bench afterwards and Matthews was delayed in leaving the Leafs dressing room at the end of the second intermission.
“He’s been dealing with it for a long time now throughout this season. It hasn’t slowed him down,” said Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe.
While it obviously sounds some alarm bells, the team is hopeful that a small let-up in the schedule will help keep him in the lineup. Matthews has missed only one…