Sheldon Keefe says Auston Matthews was pulled from Game 4 due to illness

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Hobson
1 month ago
After losing 3-1 in Game 4 to fall behind the Bruins 3-1 in the series, some news was delivered regarding the health of Auston Matthews.
With the Leafs headed into second intermission down 3-0 to the Boston Bruins, what felt like a final dagger was delivered when it was announced that Matthews would not return to the game. It was revealed afterwards that he was pulled due to reasons relating to the illness he had been battling over the past couple of days.
Matthews had missed two practices between Games 2 and 4 for some extra rest after coming down with an illness of some sort. He was able to play Game 3, but whatever he was battling earlier in the week came back to get him by the time second intermission rolled around. He had been held off the scoresheet like the rest of his teammates at that point, and he was held from heading out back for the third period at the order of team doctors.
There’s going to be an inevitable crowd that criticizes him for not battling through his illness to finish the game like it’s common for most players to do during the playoffs, but if your team doctors don’t let you go back out, there’s not much you can do as a player in that situation. Not that it ended up mattering for the Leafs either way – they didn’t have their legs from the moment the puck dropped and the Bruins did everything they needed to in order to extend their lead to two games.
The Leafs will now head to Boston on Tuesday night to begin what feels like an insurmountable task – beating the Boston Bruins three times in a row. They showed in Game 2 that they’re not completely hopeless against this hockey team, but they’re going to need to bring a near-flawless game for the next week if they want to defy the odds and make it out of this series. While it’s unknown what kind of impact Matthews’ injury is going to have on this series going forward, having him back at full health would be a boost to a team that needs just about every bounce to go their way now.

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