Matthew Knies explains his reason for going after Pastrnak in Game 5

Dean Chaudhry
May 2, 2024  (4:01 PM)

Matthew Knies making his way into the blue paint of Jeremy Swayman.
Photo credit: Ben DeChiara - USA Today Sports

Matthew Knies was the hero in Game 5 after scoring the overtime winner but he also had a moment with David Pastrnak that showed the meaner side to his game.

Game 5 was always going to be a barn burner for one reason or another. The Toronto Maple Leafs were on the brink of elimination, the Boston Bruins did not want to repeat the mistakes of the past by allowing their opponents to see another day, and Auston Matthews was ruled out with a mysterious ailment that nobody can seem to pinpoint. Somebody had to step up to the plate and while many members of the Maple Leafs played their part, it was Matthew Knies that stood out above the rest.
His overtime goal early in the extra frame will obviously catch all the headlines. John Tavares made a power-forward move towards the net as he threw a puck towards Jeremy Swayman hoping for the rebound. Knies made a bee-line towards the net and was able to finish off the play in style. However there was a play at the end of the second period that might have gone unnoticed but rallied his teammates.
Knies and Pastrnak had themselves a moment that was quickly interrupted by the officials with 22.1 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Knies was chatting with the Czech-forward, challenging him to a scrap for his shots at Morgan Rielly during the scrum before giving him a push and a hearty laugh. When asked about the interaction, the 21-year-old had this to say:
"He's going after our best defenceman & just don't like to see that. I don't want Mo to get into interactions like that. I need him to focus on the game and helping us win"

What did his teammates have to say about that? Well, Joel Edmundson relayed exactly what he and the rest of the bench felt after seeing their rookie getting into the face of the Bruins' best player:
"We rally behind stuff like that."

Knies and the Maple Leafs will have another opportunity tonight to stave off elimination and force a Game 7 back at the TD Garden for Saturday night. They will have to do it without Matthews once more but if they can replicate their effort from Game 5, there is a really good chance that they can shock the Bruins, who do not want to replicate last year's first round upset.
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Matthew Knies explains his reason for going after Pastrnak in Game 5

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