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Is Auston Matthews overthinking on Leafs' powerplay?

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Auston Matthews was kept quiet by the Tampa Bay Lightning as they romped to victory in Game 4 but the Leafs star forward looked indecisive on the powerplay, unsure whether he should pass or shoot.

Video Transcript

- "Not to single out AM, but did you notice his hesitancy to shoot, even on the power?" Yeah. Yeah. I-- Yeah, man. They-- And it's-- It's just-- That's just a problem we've seen for a long time, right? You know, the-- the-- the overpassing. The overpassing.

And I hate when they do that quick, like, pass back thing and, like, nothing comes out of it. But yeah, I just think-- I-- I just think Matthews needs to kind of get into a flow, you know. And I think the fact that we're seeing him pass more than shoot, maybe because he-- maybe because-- maybe he's overthinking things?

Maybe he thinks that because Tampa expects him to shoot, that he's not going to shoot instead of pass. But then, also the other-- the other players on-- on the power play are also assuming that, from passing so much, that they should eventually pass to Matthews for the shot. So I think there's just, like, overthinking.

And you know, it's-- it's the cliche that's always being said, that-- that, you know, on-- on-- that when a power play is clicking, they're-- they're not thinking, they're just acting. And I think we're seeing Matthews think a little too much. And again, I-- so I think-- I think that has to be Sheldon Keefe's main goal going into game 5, is finding ways-- finding ways to get Matthews going.

If I'm Keefe, I start the Matthews' line first shift. Opening shift, I start Matthews. Like, regardless of, like, the-- the defensive coverage or the line matching or whatever, like, I start Matthews, Marner, and Bunting. Bring that line back. Matthews, Marner, Bunting was a solid line the entire-- the entire-- entire season.

Like, just-- just bring them back. Get them back in front-- in front of the home crowd. Give Matthews his-- his time, give Matthews his opportunity to kind of get a flow going. If the penalties start to fly again, again, start Matthews on, like-- give Matthews a quick shift on the fourth line. A quick shift on the fourth line.

Or just-- just something. Just something-- something to get to-- to get him going and keep him in the game, right? Because Marner-- Marner has had-- opportunities to stay in the game, again, because he's a key aspect of the penalty kill. But, like, Matthews hasn't. There's been a lot of stop and starts for him where he's just, you know, sitting on the bench, waiting for-- waiting for the-- waiting for the penalty kill to stop.

Now I don't know if you want to, you know, visit the idea of putting Matthews on the penalty kill. That was the thing, like, two seasons ago. I don't know, probably not, because I think-- I think the units on the penalty kill have been established and they're doing-- they're doing great.

But yeah, if you're getting a moment-- to those moments where, like, penalty after penalty is coming, then yeah, give Matthews a quick shift on the fourth line or something. Even-- even just go All-Star mode and go Matthews, Tavares, Nylander or something. Which Keefe does do. Just do that more often. Just, again, find ways for Matthews to get his touches and I think he'll start acting more than thinking.

And then, you know, you'll finally start to, you know, be able to-- be able to put the puck in the net. But yeah, it's-- it's a-- it's-- it's been very mellow for-- for 34 so-- so far, and, you know, we need him to be-- be where 34 usually as.

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