The Boston Bruins did not take well the Toronto Maple Leafs' Game 3 victory and made them pay on Thursday night as goaltender Tuukka Rask made 31 saves and Brad Marchand scored the wining goal to lead the team to a 3-1 win against the first-round series rivals in the fourth game. Boston now leads the best-of-7 series 3-1 and can end it at home in Game 5 on Saturday. Toronto could have taken the opportunity that the Bruins were without star forward Patrice Bergeron for the contest, but they fell short.
"We were set up pretty good," Leafs head coach Mike Babcock lamented to the media after the loss. "We didn’t take advantage. That’s on us."
One of the Leafs players who did not take advantage of the situation was young star forward Auston Matthews, who managed to score the game winner Monday. Unfortunately for Toronto, Matthews was almost invisible throughout the entire contest.
"I’m assuming he thought he would come tonight and dominate the game — that’s what I thought," Babcock said of Matthews. "I thought the same with (William Nylander). That didn’t happen, but the other people you’re playing against are pros and they’re trying, too, and they’re competitive. There’s regular-season competitiveness and there’s Stanley Cup playoff competitiveness, and it keeps amping up.
"When you leave here tonight as an individual, as a coach, as a player, you’ve got time to evaluate … and most guys are pretty honest."
However, while Matthews is known to be a pretty honest player, he did not let media members in on it after the loss. According to James Mirtle of The Athletic, the 20-year-old did not speak with the media postgame on Thursday.
If Matthews is being honest with himself, his personal evaluation will show that he hasn’t been at his best. However, fans will not get to know how he felt postgame, since he was allowed to keep his feelings to himself. Although he was summoned after the game for post-game comments, the Leafs chose to allow him not to make himself available.
The Leafs chose to shield him from any criticism, Matthews agreed, and honestly, the kid could benefit from facing the music and learning from it. What the fan base can take way from Game 4 is that Matthews and Nylander were non-factors.
“I thought our fourth line dominated the game tonight. I thought they were really good," said Babcock.