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Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews unlikely to play Game 7: ‘We’ll continue as we have been,’ says Sheldon Keefe

Auston Matthews is unlikely to play for the Maple Leafs in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins due to an undisclosed injury that has kept him out of the last two games.

While coach Sheldon Keefe said Matthews is “making progress,” he made it sound like the Leafs would be playing a third straight potential elimination game without their best player.

“From now on, we’ll continue as we have been,” Keefe said.

Matthews took part in Toronto’s morning skate but was on the ice for only 15 minutes and still looked limited physically. The team did not show any possible line combinations in their exercises.

The Leafs have already shown in this series that they can win without Matthews. They defeated the Bruins in Games 5 and 6 and faced elimination without him. It required great efforts from Joseph Woll in terms of goal, stiff defence, timely goals and discipline; the Leafs took just one penalty each in the two wins that pulled them out of a 3-1 series hole. Both matches were won 2-1.

“They fought,” Keefe said after the Game 6 win in Toronto. ‘They didn’t lie down. They did not accept their fate. They changed it.”

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The Leafs are 3-0 this season without Matthews.

Given the highly secretive nature of how teams operate during the Stanley Cup playoffs, specific details about what’s going on with Matthews are difficult to come by.

What is known is that the 26-year-old played through illness in Games 3 and 4 before suffering an injury from an innocent hit while playing ill, according to league sources. Team doctors removed Matthews from the lineup during the second intermission of Game 4, and he was unable to participate in a full team skate again until Saturday morning.

Game 7 will be played at TD Garden in Boston at 8:00 PM ET.

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(Photo: Brian Fluharty/USA Today)