Matthews won’t play, Woll projected to start, loading up the Black Aces: Leafs Practice Notes

Photo credit:© Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
1 month ago
Auston Matthews will be missing a second straight must-win game, Sheldon Keefe confirmed Thursday morning. Matthews took some time skating with the main group before practice began.
He was on the ice for around 30 minutes and exerted a lot more of himself with the conditioning staff as seen in the video above. While he looked a lot more engaged, the fact this was happening before the rest of the team hit the ice meant he was likely not going to play, which Keefe confirmed after the morning skate. Matthews has been battling through an illness and unknown ailment that he picked up in Game 4, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman noted that Bobby McMann was also on the ice during this session with Matthews. McMann has yet to play in this series and has been out with an injury that dates back to early April. He has not been ruled out of the series just yet but there is little time left for him to slide back in so the chances of him playing are doubtful.
Joseph Woll did not stay out for the morning skate long, which is a good indication he will be getting the nod for Game 6. This likely also indicates that there won’t be any major changes to the lineup that was used in Game 5.
A big focal point will be the offensive output as the Leafs have yet to score more than three goals in a game and only have one power-play goal in this series so far. That will need to change if they want any chance of forcing a Game 7 and getting another step closer to overcoming a 3-1 deficit. I am looking at William Nylander as someone who needs to step up as he has not found the back of the net in this series and the past 13 games.
With the Marlies season over after losing in the first round to the Belleville Senators over the weekend, the Leafs quietly called up nine players from the AHL to load up the Black Aces. The most notable of the bunch are Kyle Clifford, Marshall Rifai, and Alex Steeves.
The likelihood of any of these guys getting in the lineup is slim as they are purely reserve players who will be on standby if the Leafs run into injury trouble. Still, it’s a nice reward for all nine of these players who will get to extend their respective seasons a little bit longer. All of which is to say is the Bruins better keep their heads up when they are in the handshake line.
Game 5 is back in Toronto where you can catch the action on Sportsnet and with puck drop scheduled for 8 p.m. EST.

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