Heading into Game 5, the series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning is exactly where many expected it to be: tied 2-2 coming back to Toronto.
There has been plenty to take away from the first four games of the series, but one of the biggest points of interest coming out of the two games in Tampa Bay is the dominance of the Alex Killorn, Brayden Point, and Anthony Cirelli unit. That line, along with the pairing of Victor Hedman and Erik Cernak, were matched against the Maple Leafs top line of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, and quite simply smothered them.
In Game 4, Matthews and Marner generated just one shot attempt against Tampa Bay’s shutdown unit. Despite the Maple Leafs win in Game 3, it was much of the same story, with Matthews and Marner coming in at a sub-30 per cent Corsi-for against Killorn, Point, and Cirelli.
With Toronto’s top line being shut down by Tampa’s matchup line and the Leafs failing to generate much at 5v5 from their second line, that begs the question: Is it time to break up Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner?
We haven’t seen Matthews play with William Nylander or Marner play with John Tavares for any significant amo …
Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation