Status of Auston Matthews unknown after taking hit in Thursday's game
Toronto Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews (left) takes the puck away from New York Islanders' Casey Cizikas during second period NHL hockey action in Toronto, on Thursday, February 22, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, February 23, 2018 1:01PM EST
TORONTO -- Auston Matthews was not present at Leafs practice on Friday, leaving his status for Saturday's home game against the Boston Bruins in doubt.
One shift after scoring his 28th goal of the season in Thursday's 4-3 win over the New York Islanders, Matthews left the game after he was sandwiched by defenceman Adam Pelech and forward Ryan Clutterbuck at 18:51 of the third period.
Matthews missed 10 games this season due to injury. On Nov. 8, he was sidelined with an upper-body ailment, which forced the star player to miss four games. On Dec. 9, Matthews collided with teammate Morgan Rielly in a game against Pittsburgh. He missed the next six games due to a concussion.
"It's very frustrating," Matthews said when speaking with the media on Dec. 22. "You never like missing games and two back-to-back injuries where you miss time, it sucks."
Matthews has 28 goals and 22 points in 53 games this season. He was close to the pace of scoring 40 goals, which would match his total from last season, in which he played in every game.
Missing any remaining games would put the 40-goal milestone in jeopardy.
This Leafs (38-20-5) are currently in third place in the Atlantic Division, and 21 points clear of the closest team that could knock them out a post-season berth (Florida 27-25-6). A prolonged absence from Matthews wouldn't pose much risk to Toronto's playoff aspirations.
Toronto is one point back from Boston for second place in the Atlantic Division.