May 20, 2024

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Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews unlikely to play Game 7: ‘We’re going the same way we were before,’ says Sheldon Keefe

Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews unlikely to play Game 7: ‘We’re going the same way we were before,’ says Sheldon Keefe

Auston Matthews is unlikely to play for the Maple Leafs in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins due to an undisclosed injury that has kept him out of the last two games.

While coach Sheldon Keefe said Matthews is “stepping up,” he made it sound like the Leafs would play a potential third straight playoff game without their best player.

“So far, we’re doing the same,” Keefe said.

Matthews participated in the morning skate in Toronto but was only on the ice for 15 minutes and still appeared physically limited. The team did not show any possible line combinations with their drills.

The Leafs have already shown in this series that they can win without Matthews. They beat the Bruins in Games 5 and 6, facing elimination without him. It took great efforts from Joseph Wall in goal, solid defence, timely goals and discipline; The Leafs only took one penalty in the two victories that pulled them out of a 3-1 series hole. They won both matches by a score of 2-1.

“They fought,” Keefe said after the Game 6 win in Toronto. “They didn’t lie down. They didn’t accept their fate. They changed it.”

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The Leafs are 3-0 without Matthews this season.

Given the highly confidential nature of how teams operate during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s difficult to get specific details about Matthews’ illness.

What is known is that the 26-year-old played through an illness in Games 3 and 4 before suffering a harmless injury while playing sick, according to league sources. Team doctors removed Matthews from the lineup during the second intermission of Game 4, and he was unable to participate in full team skates again until Saturday morning.

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Game 7 will be played at TD Garden in Boston at 8 p.m. ET.

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(Photo: Brian Fluharty/USA Today)