The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t been able to win one playoff round in each of the past five seasons, but forward Auston Matthews believes these multiple failures will make the team even better.
Toronto’s latest underperformance came last season, as they slipped their 3-1 lead in the first straight first round against the Montreal Canadiens to lose in seven games.
“It’s obviously very frustrating,” he told ESPN on Thursday. It’s boring now. People have their opinions and they can say whatever they want, they have all the rights, but I really believe in this team and the players that make it up, the core in particular. I really think we will achieve many things. We will become the best result of these defeats, in the face of adversity.”
“We can just move on. The loss in qualifying is constant. There is no other way to say. It was disappointing. But the feeling will be better when we win.”
Keep believing it
On a personal note, Matthews is currently recovering from a wrist surgery he had earlier in August, following an injury that occurred while training.
The Maple Leafs star should be back in time for the start of next season, in a squad that general manager Kyle Dupas has significantly overhauled during an off-season period.
Indeed, Peter Mrazek, Nick Ritchie, David Kampf, Ondrej Casey and Michael Ponting are now in formation, in particular replacing Frederic Andersen (Carolina Hurricanes), Zach Heyman (Edmonton Oilers), Joe Thornton (Florida Panthers) and Nick Foligno ( Boston Bruins) and Zach Bogosian.
But the core, made up of Mitch Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander, Morgan Riley, and Matthews, remains unchanged. Dubas recently reiterated his confidence in his co-stars who he believes can win the Stanley Cup.
“This is nothing new to us,” Matthew said. We know this is what [Dubas] Feel. When he repeats it, he gives us the confidence to move forward. That’s all you can ask for, that your general manager and all your teammates really believe in each other.”
Next spring, the Ontario team will attempt to reach the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
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