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The Spotlight Is On Auston Matthews

from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,

The Maple Leafs’ first practice leading into the playoffs featured some positive signs in terms of the roster, but one moment stood out.

Auston Matthews and coach Mike Babcock met for what appeared to be an important conversation. Neither would reveal what was said, but it’s obvious that the star centre is in line for a major role when Toronto’s first-round series opens Thursday night in Boston.

“Do you really think I’m gonna tell you?” Matthews said, smiling, when asked about the discussion with Babcock.

Matthews is a different player than he was a year ago, when the Bruins knocked out the Leafs in seven games, and it has given Babcock the confidence to use him against the opposition’s best. While the coach has not divulged who will match up against Boston’s big line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, he certainly won’t hesitate to send Matthews, Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen into that assignment.

While Matthews is first and foremost a driving force offensively, it’s his evolution into a two-way player — something the coaching staff has worked on with him this season — that could be a tipping point in the series.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: auston+matthews

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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