First comments from Auston Matthews after advancing past the Lightning.

First comments from Auston Matthews after advancing past the Lightning.

The Toronto Maple Leafs star forward shared his thoughts after getting over the first round jinx.

Jonathan Larivee

The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally clawed that monkey off of their backs, advancing past the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night by defeating them in six games.

It was a huge moment for a franchise, fan base, and quite frankly a locker room that has watched this group struggle to get over the hump year after year and following the game Maple Leafs star forward Auston Matthews was asked to share just how much the moment meant to him.

"It's a great feeling... but this is step one of three," said Matthews following the huge win. "It's a bit of a monkey off our back and we've still got a lot of work to do, but obviously this feels great."

The Maple Leafs have picked up a ton of experience despite their lack of success in the playoffs over the years, often clashing with championship caliber teams in those early exits, and it seems that this accumulated experience may have paid dividends this time around.

"There's so many ups and downs and it's just a rollercoaster, so you just gotta try stay even keeled and just enjoy the moment," said Matthews. "Stay present, and I'm just so proud of every guy in this locker room."

Matthews was also cognizant of the fact that this is only the first step in a long process to obtaining a championship, but he seemed confident in his team's ability to do just that.

"It's a small step in where we are trying to go, but obviously this is a big one for us," admitted Matthews. "Obviously we have the belief in our room but we're still a long way from where we wanna go. We just gotta stay in the moment here and get ready for this next round."