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Matthews out again for Maple Leafs in must-win Game 6


The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without Auston Matthews once again for Thursday's must-win Game 6 against the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

The Maple Leafs star skated with injured forward Bobby McMann on Thursday morning, well ahead of the main session. He did not return to the ice for the team skate.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed the 26-year-old centre will miss a second straight game since being pulled from the team's Game 4 loss due to illness. The Maple Leafs kept their season alive with a 2-1 overtime win over the Bruins without Matthews in Game 5.

“It’s the nature of the game, the sport,” team captain John Tavares said. “Guys responded really well last game. We gotta play together as a group, everyone stepping up and doing more.

“Not one guy trying to fill his shoes.”

Matthews skated Wednesday with members of the team's skills staff, with TSN's Mark Masters reporting he spent roughly 30 minutes on the ice.

"No update otherwise," head coach Sheldon Keefe told reporters when asked about Matthews being back on the ice.

TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reported Tuesday that Matthews is believed to be dealing with an injury in addition to the illness confirmed by the Maple Leafs. Keefe said prior to Game 5 that Matthews was doing everything he could to play, but the decision would ultimately fall into the hands of the team doctors.

Matthews has a goal and three points in the playoffs after scoring 69 goals to win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy in the regular season. The injury bug has come at a tough time for the Maple Leafs, who have played just two periods in the first round with all four members of their "Core 4." William Nylander missed the first three games of the series, returning to the lineup for Game 4. 

The Maple Leafs are looking for their first home win since Game 2 of the first round last year on Thursday.