Auston Matthews is unlikely to play Game 5 for the Maple Leafs

BOSTON — Auston Matthews is unlikely to be available for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Matthews was out with an illness and had to sit out the third period of Game 4 on Saturday against the Boston Bruins. According to sources, he is also believed to be suffering from an undisclosed injury, making it likely that he will not be able to play on Tuesday with the Leafs trailing 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.

He seems to be doing everything he can to try and play.

Matthews was the first Leaf to hit the TD Garden ice for Tuesday's optional morning skate — showing up at 11:08 a.m. for the scheduled 11:30 a.m. skate. It seemed like a sign that maybe he would be available to play in Game 5.

Matthews worked directly with Leafs assistant coach Manny Malhotra.

The two fired pucks back and forth at each other from close range. Matthews received passes with his forehand, quickly returned the ball to his backhand, then passed it back to Malholtra. Matthews then stood in front of the net and shot the pucks, which Malhotra fired from long range. He put his baton down on almost every one of the dozens that Malhotra launched.

And it was him.

Matthews didn't try hard at all, which is noteworthy because, as head coach Sheldon Keefe explained over the weekend: “The effects persisted and got worse when he was on the ice asserting himself.”

Matthews left the ice after just eight minutes. He sat out of practice entirely on Monday.

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Although the Leafs have not officially ruled him out of the game, Keefe did not sound overly optimistic about Matthews' playing potential when speaking with reporters. If Matthews can't go, it will be the second game he's missed all season after missing a game in December due to illness.

It will also be the first playoff game he has missed during his eight-year NHL career.

“It's always the doctor's call,” Keefe said. “Doctors always make contact with players in accordance with their best interests. They never put anyone in harm's way.”

Team doctors pulled Matthews from Game 4 after the second half.

Matthews had three points in the series – a goal and two assists all recorded during Toronto's Game 2 win at TD Garden that saw Matthews score the winning goal in the third period.

At Monday's practice, Max Domi replaced Matthews on the first line with Tyler Bertuzzi and Mitch Marner and also skated in his place on the team's senior power play unit.

(Photo: Kevin Souza/NHLI via Getty Images)

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