Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews needs to back up talk with action

Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts after the Maple Leafs 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden . (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs reacts after the Maple Leafs 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden . (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Following their loss to the Boston Bruins, Auston Matthews called out the Toronto Maple Leafs for their effort but he can certainly play better himself.

A day after Mike Babcock called out the Toronto Maple Leafs for their lack of discipline, Auston Matthews took his turn to address the team’s struggles.

In the second game in as many days against the Boston Bruins, the Leafs were shown once again that their effort was not good enough. After taking five penalties on Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Maple Leafs took another five against Boston and outshot 39-30.

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Not only were the Leafs outshot but the Bruins had 16 takeaways, edged the Leafs in faceoffs 38-25 and held the advantage in possession in the first and third periods. The only players to have a corsi percentage above 50 per cent were Alexander Kerfoot, Justin Holl, William Nylander, Kevin Gravel and Nic Petan.

The Bruins top line or also known as the “Perfection Line” outperformed Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and the rest of the Leafs by a wide margin which is certainly troubling. Even Babcock made it a point to say that the players didn’t play to their capabilities.

"“They’re playing against a good line,” said Babcock to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston . “So which part’s the good line and which part’s them? We’ve talked about this a number of times over the years, who should play with who.“In the end, your dominant players got to be dominant players for you.”"

That final sentence is something that seems to be getting overlooked. Most of the chatter on social media has been calling for Mike Babcock to be fired but you can bet management won’t do it and thre are many reasons to suggest why.

When you look at how well the Bruins have been playing this season, you see David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand leading the charge and it inspires the rest of the team to follow their lead. You can say the Leafs haven’t exactly had that inspirational performance from their top paid players on a consistent basis.

"“It’s just been the same thing kind of over and over for us,” said Matthews. “We haven’t been disciplined. We’re taking ourselves out of the game with penalties and, I mean, it’s costing us. It’s taking us out of our rhythm so I think that’s on us.“We have to hold each other accountable and obviously do a eetter job of staying out of the box and when we do get power plays, capitalize on them.”"

People think the team needs to be tougher and add more grit but really the mistakes are correctable if they are willing to play with a sense of urgency and not look like passengers on the ice.

Sure the team appears to be in a position where Michael Hutchinson‘s rope is getting shorter but unless there’s a clear cut solution close by, the Leafs will need to find a way to get by and it starts with their top players.

So instead of calling out the coach, look at the players who are getting the big payday and getting outplayed far too easily.

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What are your thoughts on the Leafs losing to the Bruins? Who needs to play better to get the team back on track? Let us know in the comments below.