May 25, 2024

Florida Panthers center Matthew Tkachuk took a shot at the Toronto Maple Leafs after their Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins in the first round on May 4.

Toronto was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, when the Maple Leafs rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force Game 7. In the last game, Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the third period, but Boston tied it less than two minutes later.

The Bruins scored in overtime, advancing to the second round to face the Florida Panthers. Although Florida had little time to prepare for their second-round opponent, Tkachuk says he and the team believed the Maple Leafs would lose.

 

“To be honest, I was simply glad it got to Game 7, so they could play another game. It was late, and all I wanted to do was go to bed, but I was curious about who would win. But, without giving too much away, I believe we were all aware that the way the series was going, Boston was most likely going to win. I’m sure many people expected this at the start of the series, but the playoffs are unpredictable. “I think throughout the series, we were probably expecting them to come out and win it one way or another,” Tkachuk told reporters on May 5.

Tkachuk’s criticism was subtle, given that the Maple Leafs have a history of disappointing in the playoffs, which happened again this year.

Tkachuk Expecting a ‘Great Series’ Against Boston

The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs in Game 7 and will now face Florida in the second round of the playoffs.

Florida stunned Boston in Game 7 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last season, so there is precedent for this series. With that, Tkachuk anticipates a fantastic series for the fans.

“I’m expecting a very good series,” Tkachuk told NHL.com. “They’re an incredible team in all aspects of the game.” They touch everything. They’re quite good in special teams. Their 5-on-5 is excellent. Their goaltending is excellent. Their team defense is excellent. They have some star players. I think that’s similar to our team, so it should be a wonderful series.”

After being upset in the playoffs last year, Boston won all four regular-season games against Florida, two of which were in overtime.

“We know that this is a very similar team to last year,” Tkachuk added. “A few different parts, but I believe there were a lot of high-scoring games last season. We can definitely expect it to be a little lower-scoring based on how both teams like to play and have success. So it’s a fantastic challenge here.”

 

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