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Maple Leafs Fail To Beat the Bruins in the First Round, Yet Again

After climbing back and tying the series 3-3, the Maple Leafs lose game 7 in overtime, and lose the series to the Boston Bruins. After 4 games, they looked defeated. Looked without life, and without passion to keep going. Game 5 and 6, they looked like a completely different hockey team. Great defence and smart decisions led to them climbing back into the series and finding themselves looking to move on to the second round to face the Florida Panthers. The first 4 games of the series were uneventful for the most part, and it is the complete opposite for the final 3. The hockey played by both teams was very physical, and very interesting. Many chances on both sides and each club’s goaltenders came up big when needed. At the end of the day, they almost came back. But they didn’t. They were so close, and yet they still could not get over the Boston hump. For the fourth time since 2013, the Maple Leafs cannot defeat the Bruins in the first round.

The Maple Leafs have lost 6 consecutive Game 7s dating back to 2013 – their first matchup with Boston. In the last 5 winner-take-all games, the Leafs have scored 1 goal or fewer in each of them. As well as the team played nearing the end of this series, the offence was still ice-cold. Scoring a total of 12 goals all series, compared to Boston’s 18. Toronto ranked 2nd in the league this year in goals and they show all hockey fans this year how much different the postseason is.

One problem I have with this game, as do many other Leafs fans, is that after Toronto took the lead halfway into the third period, is how Head Coach Sheldon Keefe threw out the 4th line right after the goal. The bottom line proceeds to get carved and ultimately allow a goal not long after. The rest of regulation was fine, both teams having chances and both teams playing their game. Overtime came with a bounce mixed with bad coverage, and just like that the Leafs were sent packing. After everything is said and done, the Leafs are done. The question now must be asked: where do they go from here?

It’s been said for many years, and now it’s simple. A change of players, management, and coaching. Sheldon Keefe and TML President Brendan Shanahan have had their stay and it’s time for a change. Keefe’s playoff record stands 16-21, and year after year fans call for his firing. This year feels like the year that it really happens. In the post-game press conference, Sheldon Keefe mentioned as he was answering a question: “When Teams Play The (Maple) Leafs, They Set Up The Game For The Leafs To Beat Themselves.” After that quote, I have no doubt in my mind he won’t have an NHL coaching job for a while.

Mitch Marner is a guy who has swirled around trade rumours for the last number of years. Every year after our predicted heartbreak it’s always Marner’s name that is rumoured to be moved. This year might finally be the year. With one year remaining and a full NMC on his contract, Marner would have to waive the NMC for the Leafs to have anything to work with.

When asked about the core in their post game interviews, Leafs stars William Nylander and Auston Matthews had a couple of things to say. “Look, I don’t think there’s an issue with the core. I think we were f—ing right there all series. We battled hard and got to Game 7 and OT. It;s a s–tty feeling.” Nylander voiced his opinion on the core and how he thought the series went. “I mean, this is as tight of a group as I’ve been a part of here,” said Auston Mathews. “And I feel like we say that every year, but I mean it truly was an incredible group.” A tight group nonetheless, they could not get past the first round again.

Another problem with this team, and it does not look like it is going to stop soon, is the amount of money they have allocated to such a small amount of players. Sure, other teams like the Rangers and Oilers somewhat deal with the same thing, but they all have guys who are impact players in the playoffs, and they have great value deals down their lineup. With $40M (and soon to be more) allocated to 4 guys, you would think they’d score more than 12 goals in a playoff series, and especially score more than once on the powerplay.

Whatever it is, it has to change, and it has to change this offseason. The “Shanaplan” has proven to be nothing more than words, so it’s time for a new plan. Hopefully the Leafs team we see in September gives us hope, and allows us to be excited about the things to come. For now, we must sit back and pray for what must happen, Change must happen.


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