Auston Matthews injury update: Latest news on Maple Leafs star’s status after illness forces early exit vs. Bruins

The Maple Leafs find themselves in all too familiar territory as they head back to Boston for Game 5: on the verge of elimination at the hands of the Bruins.

Toronto’s quest for its first playoff series win over Boston since 1959 suffered a devastating blow on Saturday when the Bruins cruised to a 3-1 road win and extended their series lead to 3-1. Even more concerning for the Maple Leafs was Auston Matthews’ early exit. 

Matthews didn’t return for the third period, though Toronto was already trailing 3-0 by that point. Any hope of a massive comeback was still dealt a huge blow by the absence of the NHL’s leading goal scorer from this regular season.

Here’s an update on Matthews’ status heading into a vital Game 5 next week.

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Auston Matthews injury update

It’s not a time for Maple Leafs fans to breathe easy, considering the series deficit, but it appears they can exhale a bit about Matthews’ health. The former Hart Trophy winner is dealing with an illness, not an injury, according to coach Sheldon Keefe.

Keefe revealed before Game 4 that Matthews dealt with an illness leading up to the matchup, forcing him to take it easy in practices. Keefe added after the loss that team doctors pulled Matthews before the third period.

“It’s all related to the illness he’s been dealing with,” Keefe told reporters, downplaying the idea that Matthews was battling anything more severe.

There aren’t any more details available on Matthews’ condition, but he saw more than 14 minutes of ice time between the first two periods. Matthews has registered a point in only one of the Maple Leafs’ four games against the Bruins in this series, recording a goal and two assists in Toronto’s Game 2 win.

Will Auston Matthews play in Game 5?

Matthews’ status for Game 5 isn’t known at this point, but the lack of an injury points toward the 69-goal scorer being available for what will be a win-or-go-home game for Toronto.

Keefe said Matthews was “recovering” from an illness between Games 3 and 4, indicating that he’s already been dealing with it for a few days, and the Maple Leafs don’t play again until Tuesday night. 

Since Matthews was able to suit up on Saturday and only exited after the Maple Leafs went down 3-0, signs would point toward him being available for Tuesday’s elimination game. 

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If Toronto wants to win three games and stun the Bruins, Matthews’ contributions will almost certainly be needed. The Maple Leafs were just 15-18-3 when Matthews was held without a goal in the regular season, as opposed to 31-8-7 when he did score. That trend has continued into the playoffs, and Keefe’s group has suffered when Matthews isn’t finding the back of the net. 

With two full off days before Game 5, Maple Leafs will hope there isn’t any suspense surrounding Matthews’ status for the team’s elimination game. 

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