April 20 2013 07:43PM
"Now they come to centre ice. They Leafs slow to clear… they're onside! Sundin tried to go in… he lost the puck and it was cleared away to centre. Look out, they're out they're again these Flyers are coming hard… SCORES!
That is it! Jeremy Roenick got a break. He come in, and beat Ed Belfour after the Toronto Maple Leafs did everything but win the hockey game in the last two shifts. It comes at 7:39 of the first overtime period. The Leafs stunned, their season over, and the Philadelphia Flyers will go on to meet Tampa Bay."
A lot happened there. I remember watching that game and being amazed at Sami Kapanen making it to the bench after being hit hard by Darcy Tucker. In today's game, that's a sure concussion and the play likely would have been called. Danny Gray had a post this summer about "the other uncalled high-stick" on Mats Sundin
More importantly, it was the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs played a playoff game. That changes this season, as the Maple Leafs officially clinched a playoff berth Saturday night with a win over the Ottawa Senators.
April 20 2013 02:17PM
It's going to be Bob Cole broadcasting tonight's Maple Leafs and Senators game. It ought to have a good playoff atmosphere. Say what you want about Hockey Night in Canada—their production is second-to-none and their microphones relay in the perfect amount of crowd, ice and broadcaster noise.
This will be the last game Ottawa and Toronto play against each other this season, barring some sort of wizardry that allows the two teams to meet up in the playoffs. The teams almost certainly won't be the 4-5 matchup. But with Cole calling the game, a loud, multi-partisan crowd at Scotiabank Place, and a relevant game between two winning teams playing against each other in April for the first time in nearly a decade… this is going to feel kind of cool. As long as the Senators wear their old red jerseys with the black swish and not the boring ones they have now.
April 19 2013 12:21PM
The Leafs lose momentum, and the game. It's not time to panic, so why does it feel like like my heart is raving to dubstep?
April 18 2013 08:57PM
Graig Abel/NHL Interactive
"Just about every astute hockey man that I have ever spoken with talking about losing streaks says: 'Sometimes you win a game or two that you should not have, and your bad habits are overcome by goaltending or a couple of breaks. And then all of a sudden those bad habits come to the fruition or to the fore, and you're in a little bit of trouble.'"
-Joe Bowen, sometime during the third period.
Let's be clear. It would be intellectually dishonest to suggest that the Toronto Maple Leafs of Games 1-through-41 are the same team that we've seen in Games 42, 43 and 44. They've not looked good, and everybody can agree that the win against New Jersey was a poor performance overcome by, as Bowen would say "goaltending or a couple of breaks".
The Leafs got a good early performance from James Reimer, who stopped four pucks on a 5-on-3. Goaltending. Joffrey Lupul danced around Matt Carkner. One bounce. Tyler Bozak fed a no-look pass right onto Cody Franson's tape. Two bounces. All of a sudden it was 2-0 Toronto, despite the Leafs being out-shot 4-2 and out-chanced 5-2.
By the bad habits caught up. Somebody will frame this game as having a "turning point". Maybe the New York Islanders players will credit the two fights, or an inspirational performance from the franchise player John Tavares in the latter half of the first. The real answer is that the Leafs were never meant to be up 2-0, and their lucky after seven minutes ran out.
Leafs lose, 5-3. They will still make the playoffs.
April 18 2013 12:33PM
After the Toronto Maple Leafs, the longest playoff drought in the Eastern Conference belongs to the New York Islanders, who of course made the dance in that Game 82 shootout against New Jersey to knock the Leafs out of contention. They proceeded to get killed by the Buffalo Sabres.
The Islanders are a team that are forgotten about sometimes. They've had long stretches of futility and very little meaningful success out of their four consecutive Stanley Cups in the early 1980s. Since passing the baton to the Edmonton Oilers in the 1984 Cup final, they've played 25 complete seasons. They've made the playoffs in 11 of them and have won just four playoff series.
But they hold down the seven seed coming into Thursday's competition. They play the Toronto Maple Leafs.