"I'm f*cking with ya": Paul Maurice jokes with reporters after loss to Leafs

May 11 2023, 1:40 pm

Paul Maurice might’ve lost his first game of the series to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the Florida Panthers head coach doesn’t seem all that stressed.

Facing elimination while down 3-0 in their second-round series, Toronto ā€” and rookie goalie Joseph Woll ā€” came out with a tight-checking 2-1 win to force Game 5 on Friday in Toronto.

Asked about making the game tougher for Woll, Maurice joked that the Panthers were just trying to make him feel comfortable.

“No, no. He is a rookie goalie, so we just kept talking about that before the game. We wanted to make him feel comfortable in the league,” Maurice told reporters.

Toronto’s Mitch Marner and William Nylander scored the two goals of the game for the visitors, helping to at least temporarily quell concerns about the team’s makeup in crucial postseason contests. Heading into Wednesday, Marner, Nylander, and Toronto’s two other top forwards, John Tavares and Auston Matthews, had yet to score in the series.

And then asked about allowing Toronto to have “life” in the series by claiming their first win, Maurice flipped the question on the reporter.

“The opposite part of that idea is that you would expect a team with 112 points to have no life in the series, or if you just did what you could easily do, this would be four. I don’t think anyone would have predicted that,” Maurice told reporters.

“At the start, we’d go to Game 7 smiling. We lost a game today. That happens in the playoffs, I think to everybody so far. We’re good. We’re okay.”

“We get to play the next one,” he added. “I think we are all good with that.”

And then Maurice popped into full comedy mode.

“It wasn’t so fabulous of a win that they aren’t going to let us play the next one. Keep ’em coming; just try to hide your glee,” Maurice joked. “I am f*cking with you. Relax, for f*ck’s sake! Come on. F*ck!”

Maurice has plenty of media training with Toronto reporters, having worked as the Leafs’ head coach from 2006-2008.

Game 5 goes Friday night in Toronto, with puck drop set for 7 pm ET.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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