Skip to main content


Matthews' status, starting goalie up in the air for Leafs ahead of Game 5


The Toronto Maple Leafs worked with new lines in Monday's practice as the team prepares to potentially play their must-win Game 5 against the Boston Bruins without star centre Auston Matthews.

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed that Matthews will travel with the team to Boston, but added his status for Tuesday's game is "yet to be determined." Matthews did not participate in Monday's skate, two days after he was pulled from Toronto's 3-1 loss in Game 4 on Saturday due to a illness.

"Of course, we’re hopeful that he’s available and feeling good and back to himself," Keefe said Monday. "But we’ve played well with guys out in the past."

With Matthews absent, Max Domi moved to centre as Mitch Marner skated on the top line along with Tyler Bertuzzi. John Tavares centred the second line with Matthew Knies and William Nylander. Nick Robertson, Pontus Holmberg and Calle Jarnkrok were reunited on the third line, while Connor Dewar rejoined the fourth line with David Kampf and Ryan Reaves after being scratched in Game 4.

As TSN's Mark Masters points out, when Matthews missed practice last week, Dewar served as a placeholder for him. Instead, the team used potential new lines Monday. 

"It’s not ideal to be without Auston," Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said. "You’re talking about one of the best players in the world. But there’s tremendous depth, talent and character on this team and it’s a great opportunity for all of us to step up, raise our game, which is already needed and necessary"

On defence, Timothy Liljegren skated on the third pairing alongside Joel Edmundson as he appears to set to possibly draw in for TJ Brodie. Liljegren dressed in Games 1 and 2 before being replaced by Brodie for the past two games in Toronto.

Domi also filled Matthews' spot on the team's top power play unit Monday, which got to work ahead of the main session and again after line rushes. 

"Not one of those run-of-the-mill, everyday type of illnesses that sort of come and go," Keefe said Sunday of what Matthews is dealing with. "This one has lingered and the effects have lingered and gotten worse when he's getting on the ice and asserting himself.

"We've just got to manage that and give him the time that he needs. We're hopeful that it'll turn."

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.

Maple Leafs Game 5 starter unclear

Keefe declined to name a starter for the Maple Leafs in Game 5 after replacing Ilya Samsonov with Joseph Woll for the third period of Game 4.

Woll, who did not stay out late after Monday's skate as backups tend to, was not overly tested after entering Saturday, making two saves in the third period. 

Samsonov, 27, allowed three goals and 16 shots through the first two periods and left with the Bruins up 3-0. He has started all four games in the series, allowing seven goals in three games.

Keefe told reporters after the game that the decision to pull Samsonov was to try to change something with the team down by three goals headed into the final frame.

"Special teams and goaltending are two areas that we have to be better in and they're connected in lots of ways," Keefe said.

Woll went 12-11-1 in the regular season with a 2.94 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. The 25-year-old net minder was 2-3-0 in his last five regular season games and most recently allowed four goals in a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers in the second last game of the season.

Woll appeared in four games for the Maple Leafs in the playoffs last year, going 1-2 with a 2.43 GAA and .915 save percentage.