Maple Leafs’ Morgan Rielly to return from broken foot vs. Lightning

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly confirms he will return to the lineup against the Tampa Bay Lightning and admits he's both excited and nervous for the game.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly will return from a broken foot when the team hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday.

Rielly has missed the last 23 games with the injury and last played on Jan. 12. The 26-year-old has 27 points in 46 games this season.

“I think it will take a little bit of time but you work hard during the time where you’re trying to come back so that you make sure you make the transition as easy as it can be,” Rielly said. “Especially this time of year when teams are preparing for playoffs, the game picks up a little bit. But I think it’s important to just go in there, just work hard and try to be your self.”

The Maple Leafs posted an 11-9-3 record in Rielly’s absence but are coming off a California road trip that saw the club claim only one point in three games. Entering play Tuesday the Leafs are one point clear of the Florida Panthers for a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

While Rielly’s return gives a boost to the Leafs blue line, the club isn’t fully healthy as Jake Muzzin (broken hand) remains out of the lineup. Cody Ceci, who missed 14 games with a sprained ankle, returned to the lineup in Friday’s loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

In Lightning news, defenceman Victor Hedman will miss his second-straight game with a lower-body injury.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.