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Auston Matthews questionable for tonight as illness continues its winning streak against the Maple Leafs

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Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
TLN Staff
21 days ago
Normally it is a good thing to find time to rest your star players down the stretch of the season but I’m not sure about the quality of rest Auston Matthews will be having if he can’t go tonight.
Sheldon Keefe hinted at the possibility that Auston Matthews won’t be the only Leaf in the game time decision boat which doesn’t bode well for Toronto tonight but has led to some interesting practice lines:
Before anyone gets too excited about Mitch Marner, that isn’t going to happen either. It is doubtful that Keefe is going against his plans to keep Marner out of the lineup until he feels he’s as healthy as he can get. Given the success of the Holmberg line of late the Leafs will probably keep the Tavares and Holmberg lines intact and it might be as simple as bringing in Noah Gregor to play with Domi and Bertuzzi, though I’d argue that giving Connor Dewar a shot as their centre could be interesting. Interesting is going to be the keyword for the Leafs lineup tonight as “good” seems to be off the table.
If Matthews is healthy enough to go, you’d assume it will be in a more limited capacity than the 20 minutes a night and getting looks on the penalty kill approach. Still it might be the best thing for the Leafs as they suddenly have to be mindful of how close the Tampa Bay Lightning are in the standings.
Sheldon Keefe also recently mentioned that Mark Giordano is near ready and he too could be an option for the Maple Leafs tonight if they want to go with 11F/7D or one of those other game time decisions goes the other way for Toronto.
With $1.34M of current LTIR relief, Toronto could either activate Giordano or they could make one recall from the Marlies.
What also seems certain is that the Capitals will want to take advantage of the Leafs tonight and you can expect an aggressive game from them as they have just a two point lead over the Red Wings for the final wild card spot, but are also just one point back of the Flyers for 3rd in the Metropolitan division.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm ET tonight.

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