Auston Matthews Was So Unlucky In Last Year's Playoffs It Defies Belief

Apr 1, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) scores a goal
Apr 1, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) scores a goal / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Florida Panthers in last year's second round.

This year, it's likely the first round where the two teams will meet, although there does remain a small possibility that the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to open up against Boston in round one.

In last year's series against Florida, the Leafs lost, but were the better team.

The Leafs lost three one-goal games, and were statistically the better team.

The Panthers won because Sergei Bobrovsky played out-of-his mind.

This entailed stopping Auston Matthews at every turn. Matthews now has an unfortunately inaccurate reputation as a bad playoff performer, but he's really just been unlucky.

Allow me to demonstrate:

Good Luck to the Florida Panthers in Stopping Auston Matthews This Time

In last year's series, when Auston Matthews was on the ice during 5v5 play, the Panthers won by a score of 3-2.

This despite a 57.48% Expected Goals Rating. This means that when a computer considers all the stats for the game, the Leafs would score about 58% of the goals over a period of time.

Of course, in real life, anything can happen, but knowing what SHOULD happen is useful because it at least tells you who played the best. In this case, we know that the Leafs were better than Florida when Auston Matthews skated, but that that didn't translate into reality in only a limited five game sample.

When Matthes skated, the Leafs outshot Florida 52-39 while high-danger scoring chances were 26-19 in the Leafs favor.

The main reason the Leafs lost is because when Matthews was on the ice, they shot just 3.8% which is lower than a team playing 5 x Eric Gudbranson's could expect, and a clear indication of bad luck.

At even-strength, Auston Matthews had 19 shots (which is a lot, this doesn't count the power-play) and zero goals. Even if he was playing badly (he wasn't) he could expect to score at least two goals, which probably would have been enough to completely turn around the series.

I don't know what the odds are of Auston Matthews playing five games and having 32 individual scoring chances and scoring zero goals, but they aren't high. (stats

Also, how often do you think Auston Matthews goes 14 minutes of power-play time without a goal?(The answer is never. He never does.).

In total, Matthews personally put 26 shots on Sergei Bobrovsky and scored zero times. In a series where his team lost 3 x one-goal games (and a fourth one that was a one-goal game for 53 minutes).

Did the Leafs win? No.

Did they deserve to? Yes.


Will they win this time? It is an absolute 100% guarantee.