They’re 17-8-0 on the season and sit third in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the NHL-leading Buffalo Sabres and one point back of the Tampa Bay Lightning entering Wednesday’s action. Toronto went 9-5 while Matthews was sidelined.
“We hope to get Willy back,” Matthews said of Nylander. “We hope it (contract) gets resolved. As players, we really want him back.”
“He will be up and running in a couple of weeks, but we’ll play him when he comes back.”
With Matthews back in the lineup, Babcock said fourth-line centre Fred Gauthier will be a healthy scratch against the Sharks (12-8-5), who are coming off a Tuesday night overtime loss at the hands of the red-hot Sabres.
That likely means Par Lindholm will drop down from the third line with Nazem Kadri and return to fourth-line centre duty between Josh Leivo and Tyler Ennis.
Andreas Johnsson likely remains with Kadri on the third line, but he could also find himself on a line with Matthews.
Babcock didn’t reveal the makeup of his lines with Matthews back in the fold. Matthews, before his injury, centred a line with Patrick Marleau and Kasperi Kapanen.