Maple Leafs News: “The Doctors Pulled Him”—Update on Auston Matthews


Ever since his dominant performance in leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to victory in Game 2 of their first-round series with the Boston Bruins, Auston Matthews has been a shell of himself. He’s been battling an illness, and it finally came to a head later in Game 4 on Saturday night when he was pulled from the game for the third period. 

As head coach Sheldon Keefe tells us, it was a medical decision.

“The doctors pulled him,” said head coach Sheldon Keefe after the game. “It's all related to the illness he's been dealing with”, Keefe said. “He's giving us everything that he has here, (but) ultimately, the doctors pulled him." There are some reports that food poisoning is the culprit. And that leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Leafs fans. 

 “For whatever reason, it’s not one of those everyday types of illnesses that sort of come and go. This one has lingered and the effects have lingered and gotten worse when he’s on the ice asserting himself," adds Keefe.

The superstar center had already been given the last two full morning skates off to try to rest and get back to full health, but to no avail. 

After his three-point night leading to victory in Game 2, in which he had eight shots on goal, Matthews was only able to muster a total of four shots at the Boston net over Game 3 & 4, which is his lowest total over a two-game span all season long dating back to the sixth and seventh games of the year.

 Obviously, without a healthy Matthews, the Maple Leafs are in dire straits in this series, which they now trail three games to one going back to Boston for Game 5.

"It sucks to see him not return for the third, hopefully, he's ready for the next game," said William Nylander, who missed the first three games of this opening round himself due to what’s been reported as severe migraines. The 98-point man returned in game four, playing over 22 minutes but registering no points.

It also doesn’t help Toronto’s case that the other members of the ‘Core 4’, Mitch Marner and John Tavares, have had little to no impact in the series.

Game 5, which just might be the final game of the season for the Maple Leafs, especially if Matthews is not back at full health, is set for Tuesday night in Boston.

Matthews set a Leafs franchise record with 69 goals this season, falling just inches short of the vaunted 70-goal mark in the final games of the regular schedule. 

Photo: © John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports