May 21, 2024

Auston Matthews returns as Toronto Maple Leafs drop Game 7

BOSTON — Auston Matthews‘ return to the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ lineup wasn’t sufficient to elevate the street staff Saturday in Game 7 of its first-round Stanley Cup playoff sequence vs. the Boston Bruins.

The Maple Leafs fell 2-1 in extra time as the Bruins superior to a second-round sequence that begins on Monday. It was the Maple Leafs’ sixth consecutive defeat in a Game 7, and their fourth straight to Boston.

Matthews was a late addition for Toronto’s lineup after being absent from the third interval of Game 4 all over Game 6. He had been battling each an sickness — which he performed by way of in Game 3 — and an undisclosed damage. Toronto’s prime ahead didn’t wish to delve into specifics straight after the loss, nevertheless.

“I’m not going to go into that tonight,” Matthews mentioned. “I think maybe in the next couple days. We’ll just process this [first]. It was really hard to watch those two games [when I was out]. Just really proud of the guys to fight and battle back and give ourselves a chance.”

Matthews mentioned he didn’t know till Saturday morning that he’d obtain clearance from the Maple Leafs’ medical workers to play, and mentioned his staff, in the end, gave all it might to attempt to get previous the Bruins one closing time.

“They’re always a tough opponent,” Matthews mentioned. “They’re a well-put-together team. But I thought we were right there with them. Tonight was a tight game. It’s tough, could have gone either way.”

Matthews completed the evening with one help in 17:35 of ice time, as Toronto tried to drag off a rally from a 3-1 sequence deficit.

The two sides have been deadlocked at 0-0 in Game 7 till halfway by way of the third interval, when William Nylander beat Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman to present Toronto a 1-0 lead. Hampus Lindholm responded simply 80 seconds later with an equalizer that may finally take the sport to extra time.

David Pastrnak wanted lower than two minutes within the additional body to flummox Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov and ship Boston on to face Florida within the second spherical.

Samsonov, who had been changed by Joseph Woll within the third interval of Game 4 earlier than the latter then backstopped Toronto to consecutive wins, was a shock starter on Saturday. Woll was sensational in each outings, posting a .964 save proportion and a 0.86 goals-against common within the sequence, however he suffered an damage that saved him from Game 7.

“Obviously, we didn’t practice yesterday, we traveled, and it wasn’t any better, in fact it was a little bit worse yesterday,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe mentioned of the damage. “We had informed Samsonov he needed to keep prepared final evening, there was an opportunity that Joe wouldn’t be capable of go, however Joe was going to do all the pieces he might to attempt to be prepared. The medical staff was going to proceed to work with him to get him prepared, and that’s the method they went by way of this morning.

“It wasn’t until this afternoon that it was determined that Joseph wouldn’t be available.”

Samsonov got here by way of together with his greatest outing of the playoffs in a 29-save efficiency, however that couldn’t cowl up for Toronto’s continued incapacity to provide offense. The Leafs scored simply 12 objectives whole in seven video games, which was a hurdle that helped decide their destiny.

Before Matthews was pressured out as a result of damage, it was Nylander who missed the primary three video games of the sequence with what he confirmed was a migraine difficulty. Nylander mentioned on Saturday that at occasions the complications could be so intense he couldn’t see. Nylander mentioned the Leafs’ docs thought the signs is likely to be concussion associated and held him out till he felt higher.

“The situation is very complicated. It’s hard to explain what it is,” Nylander mentioned. “It’s hard to play [through that].”

Nylander additionally defended Toronto’s nucleus of gamers, which incorporates himself, Matthews and Mitch Marner. Combined they scored 5 objectives and 10 factors within the first-round sequence that when once more resulted in disappointment.

“Look, I don’t think there’s an issue with the core,” Nylander mentioned. “I think we were right there all series. We battled hard.”

Keefe concurred.

“When teams play the Leafs, they set up the game for the Leafs to beat themselves,” he mentioned. “I thought we did that in Game 3 and 4, we beat ourselves. We’ve been trying to break through for a long time. Any answer 1714895017 is going to fall on deaf ears, and I get that. The core isn’t different, but the feeling around the team was different and played different. I thought we showed signs in this series of a team that could win.”