Auston Matthews: 'Hungry' Maple Leafs want to 'send a message early' against Bruins

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 23: Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a puck drop against the Montreal Canadiens in an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 23: Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a puck drop against the Montreal Canadiens in an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

From the NHL Newswire at 985TheSportsHub.com.

Auston Matthews still remembers how the Toronto Maple Leafs started last year's playoff series against the Bruins. It was ugly. So at the top of Matthews' list this year is to deliver the exact opposite to the Toronto faithful.

That may take some switch-flipping, because the Leafs are entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs having lost 10 of their last 15 games (5-7-3 in that span). They're also looking to atone for their poor start in last season's opening round matchup, which kicked off with a 5-1 loss to the B's.

"We're playing the same team back-to-back years in the first round, so that's gonna be a challenge," Matthews told reporters. "But I think everyone in the locker room's hungry. We want to go in and be ready from the very first game and definitely send a message early."

Whatever message that is, it'll be hard for them to top the what the Bruins sent them in that game a year ago. The B's got at least one goal from each of the four forward lines. David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, David Backes, and Sean Kuraly each lit the lamp. And they followed that up with a 7-3 win in Game 2 that ultimately made the series too uphill of a battle for the Leafs.

Matthews himself also has a message to send himself and his fans, if not the Bruins. The Bruins defense stifled the Leafs superstar in the first two games of last year's series, keeping him off the score sheet entirely. After his disappearance in the early part of that series, Matthews can only stand to improve.

If he has his way, the Leafs will let the Bruins know that they won't fold so quickly this time.

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