Auston Matthews: ‘Hungry' Leafs want to ‘send a message early' vs. Bruins


Auston Matthews' first career Stanley Cup playoff series came last season in the first round against the Boston Bruins, and the Toronto Maple Leafs star was unable to help his team survive Game 7 at TD Garden.

Matthews scored one goal with one assist over seven games in that Round 1 series versus the B's, making for a disappointing end to an otherwise fantastic campaign for the young center.

The Bruins and Leafs will again meet in the first round of the playoffs this season, with Game 1 scheduled for Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston. Matthews spoke to reporters after Saturday's regular-season finale about the challenge that lies ahead in Boston, pointing out that Toronto is eager to make a statement early in the series.

The Leafs were unable to send an early message to the Bruins in last season's series.

Toronto dropped the first two games in Boston by a combined score of 12-4, and Matthews went scoreless in both games. The Leafs did well to recover and won three of the next four games before ultimately giving up multiple leads in a 7-4 Game 7 loss.

Matthews and the young Leafs have another year of valuable experience entering this series against the Bruins, and given the incredible amount of talent on both rosters, anything less than another seven-game thriller would be surprising.

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