Matthews says a ‘weird hit’ kept him out of Game 5 and 6 vs. Bruins

Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
1 month ago
It’s difficult to say whether the Toronto Maple Leafs would’ve fared any better in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series against the Boston Bruins had their top forward not dealt with various ailments from Game 2 onward.
Auston Matthews, who scored a franchise record 69 goals during the 2023–24 regular season, managed just four points in five games against the Bruins while working to overcome an illness and a nagging injury.
The 26-year-old centre spoke about his condition throughout the series in his ‘locker clean-out’ media availability on Monday morning.
“It was tough. I got really, really sick after Game 2,” Matthews said. “Played in Game 3, obviously just kind of going through that. I was still just kind of trying to recover going into Game 4, took a weird hit and couldn’t go on any longer.
“That’s as detailed as I’m going to get into it. I mean, obviously, it was tough, it was really frustrating, it sucks and was killing me to watch. I’m proud of the guys and how they fought and climbed their way back into the series, and I was fortunate enough to get to play in that Game 7 and just try to go out there and give it my all. Obviously, it’s disappointing and frustrating being here today.”
Toronto fell behind three games to one in its series against Boston before battling back to tie it with wins in Games 5 and 6, despite Matthews being out of the lineup in both games.
Matthews set up the Leafs’ only goal in the deciding Game 7 at TD Garden at Boston, putting the puck on a platter for William Nylander to break the ice midway through the third period of what had been a scoreless battle to that point.
The Leafs have cultivated a reputation as a one-and-done playoff team throughout Matthews’ tenure in Toronto, but it’s difficult to pin too much of the blame for this year’s loss on a player who was clearly labouring throughout the series. Through 55 career playoff contests with the Leafs, Matthews has 23 goals and 48 points.
Matthews signed a four-year contract extension with the Leafs last August that will see him paid $13.25 million per season, on average, until 2028. With Matthews and Nylander both signed deep into the future, all eyes in Toronto have already turned toward Mitch Marner, who struggled immensely against the Bruins and is set to become a UFA in 2025.

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