May 22nd, 2024

Matthews’ illness ‘lingering’ as desperate Maple Leafs look to stay alive

By The Canadian Press on April 28, 2024.

Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews has been sidelined by a "lingering illness" as Toronto stares down playoff elimination. Matthews (34) and Morgan Rielly (44) react after Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand scored an empty-net goal during third period action in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Toronto on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO – Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews has been sidelined by a “lingering illness” as Toronto stares down playoff elimination.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe provided an update on the star sniper’s status Sunday afternoon, some 14 hours after watching his team fall 3-1 to Boston in a disastrous home performance.

The Bruins now lead the Original Six matchup 3-1 and can close things out Tuesday at TD Garden. Game 6, if necessary, would be back in Toronto on Thursday.

Keefe said Matthews has been cut down by more than a “run-of-the-mill” illness, adding that the symptoms get worse when the 26-year-old asserts himself on the ice.

The 69-goal man willed Toronto to victory in Game 2 to even the best-of-seven series, but was clearly labouring in a 4-2 loss in Game 3 before being removed from the action Saturday.

The Leafs trailed the Bruins 3-1 in the opening round of the 2018 playoffs, but won two straight to force a Game 7 they would lose in Boston. Toronto also fell to its Atlantic Division rival in seven games in 2013 and 2019.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2024.

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