Auston Matthews said the Toronto Maple Leafs’ play to start the season is “just not good enough” after a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Tuesday.
The center, who had no points and two shots on goal Tuesday, called out himself and his teammates following Toronto’s second straight loss.
“We need to be better, and I think it comes from the leadership group. I need to be better. All of us need to be better,” said Matthews, who is an alternate captain along with forward Mitchell Marner and defenseman Morgan Rielly. Injured center John Tavares is the Maple Leafs captain.
“I think we just need to look each other in the eye and hold each other accountable, and put this game aside and take a couple steps forward and just be better for one another.”
The Maple Leafs (5-4-2) have lost three of their past four games (1-2-1). They blew a first-period 2-0 lead against the Washington Capitals in a 4-3 loss Oct. 16. Toronto then defeated Boston 4-3 in overtime on Oct. 19 but only after allowing the Bruins to tie the game with 4:26 remaining in the third period. The Maple Leafs blew a one-goal, third-period lead against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday and lost 4-3 in overtime. And they allowed two third-period goals to the Bruins on Tuesday after the game was tied 2-2.
Scoring has not been an issue for Toronto, which is sixth in the NHL with an average of 3.64 goals per game. However, its goals-against average is 3.45 per game, 24th in the League.
“We need to find a way,” said Matthews, who leads the Maple Leafs with eight goals in 11 games. “Going into it, we knew we’d need to grind it out. Keeping it simple was probably the play for us, and I think at times we did that and at times we didn’t, but we were in a good spot going to the third period, and obviously they got a big goal there and we couldn’t climb our way back.”
The Maple Leafs will look to get back on track when they host the San Jose Sharks at Scotiabank Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, TVAS, NBCSCA, NHL.TV).
NHL.com independent correspondent Matt Kalman contributed to this report