Leafs HC Sheldon Keefe sheds light on Auston Matthews' health struggles

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs' playoff hopes hang in balance amid Auston Matthews illness and home ice woes

In the aftermath of the Game 4 loss of the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Boston Bruins, all the attention was directed to the team's superstar center, Auston Matthews, whose absence due to illness caused a stir among fans and media.

Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe shed light on Matthews’ battle with a health issue that was more than a temporary problem.

"We thought the last couple of days would help us but, for whatever reason, it’s not one of those run-of-the-mill type of illnesses that sort of come & go. This one has lingered & the effects have lingered & gotten worse when he’s got on the ice," Keefe said (via NHL insider Mark Masters).

Auston Matthews' battle with illness has been ongoing, with Keefe confirming that the star center played through similar symptoms in Game 3. Despite his efforts to soldier on, Matthews' condition worsened during Game 4, prompting his early exit from the contest after the second intermission. The absence of Toronto's leading scorer undoubtedly dealt a blow to the team's chances of staging a comeback against the Bruins.

Toronto's playoff woes were exacerbated by a lackluster performance on home ice, where the team has now suffered six consecutive postseason losses dating back to the 1970s. The Leafs have struggled to find offensive momentum, scoring three or fewer goals in their last 11 playoff games.

Despite the challenges set by Auston Matthews' illness and the team's recent playoff struggles, the Maple Leafs remain determined to turn the tide in their favor. With Game 5 looming as a must-win matchup in Boston, Toronto will need to rally behind their ailing star and find a way to overcome their home ice woes to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Auston Matthews, the NHL's regular-season goals leader, missed the third period due to illness

In Game 4 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brad Marchand broke the Boston Bruins' playoff goals record with his 56th goal, leading his team to a 3-1 victory and putting them one win away from advancing to the second round.

Marchand also contributed an assist, while James van Riemsdyk and David Pastrnak scored for the Bruins. Jeremy Swayman made 24 saves for Boston. Toronto's Mitch Marner scored their lone goal. William Nylander returned to play for Toronto after missing the series' first three games due to injury.

The Bruins played a tight defensive game, frustrating the Maple Leafs' offensive efforts. Boston capitalized on a power play opportunity with Marchand's historic goal, his 56th in postseason career, surpassing Cam Neely for the franchise record.

Frustration grew on the Toronto bench, with visible tension between teammates Matthews and Marner, though Marner later clarified it was a minor disagreement about gameplay. Pastrnak added a late goal for the Bruins, sealing the victory.

Despite Marner's goal in the third period, Toronto couldn't overcome Boston's lead. The win put Boston in a commanding position to close out the series at home in Game 5.

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