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Maple Leafs' Matthews says 'weird hit' kept him out of Games 5 and 6


Toronto Maple Leafs star centre Auston Matthews said Monday he was already dealing with an illness when a "weird hit" incurred during Game 4 kept him out of the next two games in their series against the Boston Bruins, but wouldn't go into specifics regarding the injury. 

Matthews, who scored a career-high 69 goals in the regular season, says he got sick after recording a goal and two assists in Toronto's Game 2 win in Boston. He then could not continue playing after the Game 4 hit.

The 26-year-old American didn't record a point in Game 3 or 4 as the Maple Leafs dropped both on home ice to fall to a 3-1 deficit in the series. With Matthews sidelined, the Leafs would win the next two games to force a Game 7 back in Boston. 

Mathews returned to the lineup and recorded an assist on the Leafs' lone goal in 17:35 of playing time before losing 2-1 in overtime. 

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Over 55 career playoffs games in the past eight years, Matthews has tallied 23 goals and 25 assists as the Maple Leafs have lost seven of eight first-round series. 

Matthews has already been nominated for the Selke Trophy and Lady Byng Memorial Trophy and could be line to be nominated for the Ted Lindsay Award and Hart Memorial Trophy. He has already captured this year's Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's top goal scorer, the third time he's won that award. 

A first overall pick in 2016, Matthews has 368 goals and 281 assists over 562 regular season games with the Maple Leafs. 

Matthews signed a four-year, $53 million contract, featuring an average annual value of $13.25 million, last summer.