Matthews, Marner slammed over 'far below standard' effort in Game 3.
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Matthews, Marner slammed over 'far below standard' effort in Game 3.

The stars of the Toronto Maple Leafs were slammed for a lackluster performance in Game 3 against the Florida Panthers.

Jonathan Larivee

The Toronto Maple Leafs had all of the good will in the world behind them after they exercised their demons in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, advancing past the Tampa Bay Lightning in 6 games. Over the span of just 3 games however, we have seen all of that good will evaporate into thin air as the Maple Leafs have seemingly imploded in their second round series against the Florida Panthers.

The Maple Leafs now find themselves down 0-3 in the series, having lost 3 straight games for the first time since October of 2022, and there is plenty of blame going around. There have already been calls for head coach Sheldon Keefe to lose his job, and now the latest round of criticism is being directed at the organization's star forwards in Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

During a segment aired on TSN, NHL analyst Craig Button laid into the Maple Leafs for what he clearly deemed to be an inexcusable performance in Game 3.

"There's no other way to put it, they were poor," said Button as per TSN.

"You might be able to get away with that game in November, you do not get away with that game in a Game 3 when you're down 2 games to nothing."

Although he was critical of several players while making his comments, it would be Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner who seemed to be the focus of most of Button's displeasure.

"Matthews had his best shift on the opening shift when he hit the post, and Mitch Marner was nowhere to be found in this game," said a very critical Button. "They created so many different turnovers and they didn't create very much for themselves."

Although many fans have been quick to blame Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn for injuring goaltender Ilya Samsonov in Game 3, Button appeared to put the onus for that incident on Matthews himself.

"Auston Matthews on a really big mistake was the culprit that led to the turnover that led to Samsonov being out of the game," said Button.

Overall though, the veteran NHL analyst was simply disappointed in the lackluster performance from the two star forwards.

"When you're looking to your best players to just give you their best effort, they fell short" said Button. "Far, far short."