Wow! Is there is anything more exciting than playoff hockey it’s a game 7? When everything is on the line, backs against the wall win or go home, you find the true character of a team and your favourite players. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins did not disappoint in a thrilling and dramatic game 7 that saw the two teams need overtime to claim a winner.
Depending on which side of the puck you’re on, this was either one of the biggest single-game playoff collapses or one of the biggest single-game playoff comebacks. Tonight was a game to remember for both teams and both fan-bases. A team has victory in their grasp and can taste the next round only to have it stolen away with less than 11 minutes in the third period. There are no words to describe the massive gut-punch.
That tonight is exactly what happened to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs held a 4-1 lead late into the third period. But with just over 11 minutes left in a game 7 that seemed to be all but over as the tides turned and the Bruins came storming back to force overtime.
- The Boston Bruins are the first team in NHL history to come back from being down 3 goals in the third period of a game 7 and claim victory. When the Bruins laid claim to the Stanley Cup, they overcame three game 7′s. Needless to say the Bruins seem to thrive when everything is on the line.
- Heading into game 7 all the pressure was squarely on the Bruins. The Leafs had already won two in a row and were looking to just prove everyone wrong by making it to the 2nd round. The Leafs were the better team for most of the game, but you can’t win a hockey game when you only play 48 minutes. Tonight was the perfect example of why a full 60 minutes is key to a hockey game. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.
- Yes the Leafs lost in dramatic fashion, but why are Leaf fans so upset or disappointed in their team? Raise your hand if you said to yourself the Leafs would be in a game 7 against the Boston Bruins and just 11 minutes away from round 2. Most Leaf fans wrote their team off before the puck was even dropped. For the young, in-experienced Leafs to push the more experiences, bigger and tougher Bruins to a game 7 is a remarkable feat and something the Leafs should be proud of. No one gave the Leafs a shot in this series, yet they nearly stole it.
- Despite the loss, this series was huge for the Leafs. They gained valuable playoff experience and even better playoff confidence. James Reimer, Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak, Joe Colbourne and Jake Gardiner as well as the rest of the Leafs now know how to win in the playoffs. Now they can use what they learned and the heartbreak they feel to insure this doesn’t happen again. While the Leafs may have lost the series, it was a win-win for the future of the Leafs.
- In the end experience lucked out. The Boston Bruins knew what it took to not only win in the playoffs but to win a game 7.
They’ve been there before, experienced the heartache and the joy. They knew exactly what they had to do in order to pull off the victory and they did it. This was the Bruins series to win, they let it get away from them by under-rating the Leafs game, but they brought it home when it mattered most.
- Patrice Bergeron had seen James Reimer have his number in both games 5 and 6, but tonight Bergeron had his revenge. The Bruins centre scored 2 goals including the overtime winner as the Bruins stunned the Leafs.
- What a big game by Cody Franson. The defenceman who has faced much criticism throughout his tenure with the blue and white scored 2 goals tonight and jump-started the Leafs offence.
- You can say all you want about how face-offs aren’t important but tonight the Leafs got clobbered in the face-off circle and it cost them. If you don’t win face-offs you immediately have to start the shift chasing the puck to gain control. With Tyler Bozak on the shelf the Leafs won just 18 face-offs to the Bruins 43.
- For the first time in 9 long years, the Leafs proved everyone wrong. They made the playoffs, they didn’t get swept, they made it past game 6 and nearly snuck out the victory in game 7. Tonight the Leaf players will hang their heads, but tomorrow they should hold them high. This was a successful season for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- How big of a series was this for James Reimer? While he didn’t manage to sneak out a win for the Leafs he played fantastic and has given the Leafs a goalie they can look forward to in the future. Without him playing strong between the pipes, the Leafs would have been done in game 5.
Welcome back to the playoffs Leaf fans. Sometimes it breaks your heart and sometimes it leaves you shouting for joy, just depends how the cookie crumbles.