Playoffs!!!1 gameday: Game 5 Leafs @ Bruins

Cam Charron
May 10 2013 01:06PM

I never really got behind the concept of "must-win" games. They're always trotted out for meaningless regular season games against teams fighting for the same spot in the standings. 

Late in the season, I heard the term "must-win" trotted out for the Maple Leafs game at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. The Leafs lost in a shootout but didn't drop in the standings, and held the five-seed to the end of the year.

Toronto didn't have a lot of "must-win" games this year though, even in the clichéd sense. For all the talk about how tight the standings would be in a short season, by the final week of the season it was pretty apparent who would land the low seeds in the East.

Tonight though, is a must-win game for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Breaking Down A Scapegoat

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
May 09 2013 12:54PM

So, last night happened. We watched the Leafs play one of their most exciting and intense games in nearly a decade, and promptly fell into a state of wondering after David Krejci scored his third of the night to win the game for the Boston Bruins. Some wondered if the Leafs still have a chance in this series. Some wondered about the players wives and girlfriends. Some wondered if this was really what they were waiting for for nine years. Lastly, a lot of people wondered about how awesome it would be if the Leafs no longer had Dion Phaneuf. Wait, what?

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LFR6 Round 1, Game 4 - Staring Down Elimination

Steve Dangle
May 09 2013 12:09PM

  

The Leafs are on the brink of elimination, and all anyone's talking about is a glare, AND THEY DIDN'T EVEN GET IT RIGHT! Figure it out!

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The accidental juggernaut - Why the Leafs deserved a win in Game 4

Cam Charron
May 09 2013 10:56AM


Photo via Claus Anderson/Getty via NHL Interactive

The first step I'm sure is making sure Mark Fraser is okay. He took an ugly puck off the face and bled his way to the hospital, where he was being checked for broken bones in his forehead

It was an ugly scene, but there was something lighthearted about the way that Hockey Night's Craig Simpson suggested that the member of the ice crew who scraped the blood into James Reimer's net was somehow in the wrong.

Either way, we were left with a Maple Leafs rotation of five defencemen: Dion Phaneuf, Carl Gunnarsson, Cody Franson, Ryan O'Byrne, and Jake Gardiner, who played one hell of a game and filled Fraser's shoes defensively while providing offence.

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Leafs can't beat Lady Luck, lose in OT and trail 3-1 in series

Cam Charron
May 08 2013 09:40PM


Photo via Claus Anderson/Getty via NHL Interactive

At the start of the third period, we saw the team that Brian Burke meant to build. Burke repeatedly said during his tenure in Toronto that he wanted to build an exciting team, with speed and heart. For 20 minutes we got that. For 33 minutes we got that, actually, as a Toronto Maple Leafs team, lead by core guys like Phil Kessel, Jake Gardiner, Joffrey Lupul  and James van Riemsdyk, all acquired by Burke, took it to the Boston Bruins and put them on the brink of tying the series.

But all that counts is that one mistake. In a split second, Dion Phaneuf tried make the overtime more physical. Maybe he thought he'd create a turnover and give the Leafs a chance. Phaneuf stepped up to make a hit on Nathan Horton, and the result of that was disaster. The Bruins' best two offensive players all night, David Krejci and Milan Lucic, came away on a 2-on-1 in the overtime period with Ryan O'Byrne the only man back.

No matter how much of the flow the Leafs controlled in the previous period and a half, it doesn't matter. You often don't survive when Krejci, both a shooter and premier playmaker, has the puck on his stick. James Reimer did his best to squeeze at the shot, but it trickled in. Boston won 4-3 and take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

I said that the Maple Leafs' best performance of the season was in Game 2. I may have lied. The Toronto Maple Leafs' best game of the season was in Game 4. They have nothing to show for it, but an unlikely situation forced Randy Carlyle into using lines and defensive pairings he had yet to experiment with on the season, and the result was really something.

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