Leafs top defenseman Morgan Rielly returning Wednesday



The Toronto Maple Leafs will have their top defenseman back Wednesday as Morgan Rielly (upper-body injury) is set to return against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.

Rielly, 30, has missed the past four games but skated at practice on Monday and Tuesday. He entered Tuesday tied for 10th among NHL defensemen with 51 points (seven goals, 44 assists) and leads the Leafs in ice time at 23:48 per game.

Leafs forward Mitchell Marner, who has missed 11 straight games with an ankle injury, skated again on Tuesday but likely won’t return until Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens. Marner, 26, has 76 points (25 goals, 51 assists) in 62 games this season.

“Morgan will be available for us tomorrow,” Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters Tuesday. “Mitch, we’ll feel it out and talk to him … likely more of a target for the weekend.”

Over 11 seasons, Rielly has 465 points (80 goals, 385 assists) in 784 games after the Leafs selected him with the No. 5 pick in the 2012 draft.

In his eighth season with Toronto, Marner — the No. 4 pick in the 2015 draft — has 630 points (193 goals, 437 assists) in 569 games.

Toronto (43-22-9, 95 points) has won three in a row and entered Tuesday four points behind the second-place Florida Panthers (47-23-5, 99 points) in the Atlantic Division.

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