Even if you predicted the Leafs would win the series, even if you predicted the Leafs and Bruins would be playing seven, there’s probably not a likelihood that you predicted it to go down like this.
There’s the obvious eerie parallels with the Leafs-Bruins series from 2013. After falling behind 3-1, the Leafs won consecutive games in Boston and back in Toronto to force it to a seventh game.
But even in that 2013 series, the Leafs never got blown out quite like they did in the first two games this year. Toronto and Boston split the opening two games of that series, before a 5-2 Bruins victory followed by a 4-3 overtime win on Toronto’s home ice set things in motion for the historic comeback that almost was, and we’ve touched on what happened in Game 7 so many times it’s been beaten to death, resuscitated and killed thousands of times over.
There’s been some chatter out there about what constitutes a Leafs’ successful season, how the team deserved an easier first round matchup, and how the season’s been more successful than year 1 of the Auston-William-Mitch era because the Leafs forced a seventh game in the playoffs. Whatever happens, happens, right?
Honestly, screw that. Go out there and win one tonight, and let’s put an end to those conversations forever. End the debates about whether the Leafs should’ve sold at the deadline, end the debates about how it was nice to get Plekanec but a second round pick would be useful in the future, end the debates about whether the Leafs are making this mistake or that mistake. Be remembered as the Leafs team who won the series for the first time in 14 years, be remembered as the team who conquered the Big Bad Bruins, and be the team who put Rene Rancourt into retirement.
It’s down to one hockey game. Let’s see the Leafs make some new memories, and while we’ll never quite alleviate the stress of what happened in 2013, it’s time for these Leafs to create their own history in the process.