Babcock expected Matthews, Nylander to 'dominate' Bergeron-less Bruins
With four-time Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron (upper body) sidelined for the Boston Bruins on Thursday, the previously quiet Toronto Maple Leafs duo of Auston Matthews and William Nylander had a glorious chance to break out in Game 4.
Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock certainly thought so, as the young, dynamic forwards were set to face a weakened bottom-six with Riley Nash moving up the Bruins' lineup and Toronto receiving the last change as the home team. However, Matthews and Nylander were both held without a point and failed to generate many scoring chances.
"I'm assuming that (Matthews) thought he was going to come tonight and dominate the game. That's what I thought," Babcock told reporters following Toronto's 3-1 loss. "I thought the same with (Nylander). That didn't happen."
Thursday was more of the same for Matthews and Nylander, as they've combined for just a goal and an assist throughout the first four games against Boston, which leads the opening-round series 3-1.
"The other people you're playing against are pros and they're trying too and they're competitive," Babcock added "There's regular-season competitiveness and there's first-round Stanley Cup playoff competitiveness and it keeps amping up the whole way through.
"In order to find that out we've got to play better than we are right now, if we're ever going to find that out. In reality, when you leave here tonight as an individual, as a coach, as a player, you've got time to evaluate yourself and most guys are pretty honest."
Matthews and Nylander will have another chance to get on track in Game 5 on Saturday, though it will come at TD Garden where the Bruins will get the last change, and where they'll potentially have Bergeron back in their lineup.