TORONTO | Morgan Rielly, John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner paraded behind the lectern in the media room at Scotiabank Arena. All four had sad looks, eaten away with frustration at another first-round playoff elimination.
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"We didn't achieve what we wanted to achieve," Tavares said. It's infuriating, it's disappointing. It hurts. We were close. »
"The result is the same," added Matthews. I think we played with heart, we worked. The difference is in small details. They have won the Stanley Cup the last two years. They can do several things. They have been at the top for two years. But we were close. »
Matthews hit the nail on the head when he described the Lightning as a team that can do anything on the ice. Jon Cooper's side overcame the loss of one of their best players at Brayden Point in Game 7.
Anthony Cirelli and Nicholas Paul seized the torch after Point's loss. Good teams don't just have good players, they also have a lot of depth.
In Paul's case, he led the attack with two goals. But there are more than goals. He spent a crazy time on the ice at 22 min 03 s. Julien BriseBois has a knack for finding key players before the trade deadline.
A proud coach
Sheldon Keefe had played the confidence card in the morning, saying he felt no nervousness. He believed his group capable of taking out the Tampa Beast. Keefe made the wrong prediction.
"It's hard to find the words," Keefe said after the 2-1 loss in Game 7. I told them I was proud of them. We had a great season. There are many reasons to be proud, but also many reasons to be downcast and sad. They gave their all. But we did not win. »
Marner had a speech somewhat similar to that of his trainer.
“There have been a lot of good things this season, but I won't take that in for a long time. It will hurt for a long time. I will return to the gym and I will be ready for the next season. »
After the game, Maple Leafs fans showed their immense love for their team with applause. It takes unwavering faith to remain so patient.