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Shanahan backs Leafs' core: 'We are going to get this done'

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Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan supported his star players Wednesday in the aftermath of their latest playoff blunder.

"We are going to do this in Toronto, with this group. There'll be changes that are made, there'll be tweaks along the way, the team will evolve, the people will evolve. But we are going to get this done," Shanahan said, according to TSN's Kristen Shilton.

The future of the Maple Leafs' big four - Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander - has been brought into question after Toronto failed to advance out of the first round for the fifth consecutive year, this time blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Montreal Canadiens.

Much of the flak has fallen on Marner and Matthews, as Tavares was injured for nearly the entire series and Nylander led the team in scoring. Marner said earlier Wednesday that he's against the team going into "panic mode," and Shanahan delivered a similar message.

"I'll say this about our top four (forwards). Any team in the league would want them, but we like them, we want to keep them here," Shanahan said, according to's Dave McCarthy.

Although Shanahan offered a vote of confidence, he did admit his club has yet again proved it doesn't quite have what it takes to win a championship.

"There's a killer instinct that is missing that we need to address," he said, per The Athletic's James Mirtle. Shanahan added, "We have to really be honest with ourselves. We have to support our players and help them get over that hump."

The Leafs made a clear effort to obtain veteran experience this season, bringing in Wayne Simmonds, Joe Thornton, and Nick Foligno to reinforce a roster that many believed lacked grit.

Despite the additions, Toronto remains without a series win since 2004.

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