The Toronto Maple Leafs played their final regular season game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, and with the game having no impact on the playoff standings and Auston Matthews sitting at 69 goals on the year, the team made every effort to help him get to 70. Ultimately, Auston Matthews was unable to score that 70th goal, and he got honest about missing out on that threshold.

“I wanted it, for sure,” Matthews said, with a smile, according to Joshua Kloke of The Athletic.

The Lightning came away with a 6-4 win over the Maple Leafs, and looking at the stat sheet, it was apparent that Matthews was trying very hard to score that goal. Matthews took 12 shots on goal, which led the team by a wide margin. William Nylander had the next highest mark, which was five. No one else had more than three shots on goal.

The goal scorers for the Maple Leafs were TJ Brodie, Pontus Holmberg, Ryan Reaves and John Tavares.

Despite not crossing the 70 goal threshold, Matthews did reach a career-high in points with 107, which is one more than his 2021-2022 season, when he scored 106 points and scored 60 goals, winning the Hart Trophy. It will be interesting to see how the Hart Trophy voting plays out this season, as there are multiple worthy candidates.

For now, the Maple Leafs will try to get over the hump in the playoffs.

Maple Leafs' playoff outlook

As the Maple Leafs' regular season comes to a close, we know their matchup in the first round, and it is with a team that has given them trouble for over a decade in the postseason in the Boston Bruins. Toronto is locked into the third spot in the Atlantic Division, and when the Florida Panthers clinched the division title by passing the Bruins, the matchup was determined.

As mentioned before, the Maple Leafs and Bruins have run into each other in the playoffs many times over the last decade or so. The most infamous loss in recent memory was in 2013, when the series went to Game 7, and Toronto seemingly had the game in hand, leading 4-1 in the third period. The Bruins came back with three late goals, two of them with the goalie pulled, and won in overtime 5-4.

The next matchup was in 2018, when the Maple Leafs forced a Game 7 after trailing the series 3-1, but eventually lost 7-4 in the final game. The teams then matched up again in 2019. This time, Toronto took a 3-2 series lead and had a chance to take the series at home. However, The Maple Leafs lost Game 6 4-2, then lost Game 7 5-1.

Toronto broke the drought of first round losses last season, but lost to the Florida Panthers in the second round. This year, they will have to slay the dragon that is the Bruins to advance in the playoffs.