Another year, another Leafs and Bruins series, another game 7. It seems no matter which team has the upper hand at any point in the series that these teams are destined to go to a game 7. This year, however, the two teams are closer than ever before as no team has won two games in a row in this series. This is a series that neither team is giving an inch after losing a game. With the pattern we see in this series does this mean the Leafs will finally win against the Bruins?
If you’re a Leafs fan, the minute you heard “The Boston Bruins force game 7,” I guarantee the majority of the Leafs population got sick to their stomachs more than at any point this season. Why? Well I do not need to go into the dirty details, but this is the 3rd time in 6 years these two have faced each other in the postseason and see themselves in a game 7, with Boston winning both previous series’ in spectacular fashion after the Leafs blew 3rd period leads. In 2013, the one that hurt most Leafs fans, and gives many fans, if not all, nightmares when the Leafs held a 4-1 lead in the 3rd period only to see the lead evaporate in the closing minutes of the period and lose in overtime. As well as last season the Leafs carried a 4-3 lead into the 3rd only to be blown out by Boston with 4 goals in the period to take the game 7-4.
This year however it has felt different, the Leafs aside from game 2 have pushed back in every game they were trailing and every game after a loss. It is a much different performing team than in last year’s playoffs. Maybe experience and maybe better players have helped push this along. I think the Leafs also know they can beat Boston and beat them in their building with two road wins already in this series and with one more to go the Leafs have an opportunity to end the game 7 curse, if you want to call it that, in the first place it all began; Boston.
The whole series to this point means nothing, it comes down to one game; winner take all. The Maple Leafs are the faster team and have been hitting back the Bruins ever since game 2. They have shown that they do not want to and won’t let the Bruins push them around. At this point however, the Leafs need to prove they can win, they need to show that they want it as in Game 6. They had the Bruins on the ropes and let them back into the series by not showing up until the last period, at that point it was too late. The Bruins managed to suffocate any part of the Leafs offence that showed up and killed them on special teams. The Bruins scored two powerplay goals and allowed none to the Leafs and that was the difference in Game 6. The Bruins dictated the entire game and the Leafs were just along for the ride. The Leafs did, however show up late in the game but at that point they were against the clock along with a questionable goalie pull by Coach Mike Babcock. Not exactly sure why you pull the goalie down 1 with 2 minutes left and lack of puck possession; it burned the Leafs and the Bruins hit the empty net. With the talent the Leafs have they shouldn’t pull the goalie until one minute is left and you have possession and all your premium talent players are on the ice at the same time. It should be easy for a team such as this but they make their lives far more difficult than need be.
Game 7 will be a huge test for both teams, the pressure is mostly on the Leafs after last season and that they are arguably the better team on paper. Even the Bruins, however are facing pressure as they are not getting any younger and their key, core players are starting to get older as Bergeron, Chara, Rask, and even Marchand can only keep the team going for so long. Who knows what this team looks like next season if they lose in round 1. At the end of the day one great team will be eliminated in the silly playoffs this season and either the #2 or #5 team in the conference will be eliminated and seemingly their season will be considered a failure.
So, who wants it more? The young, eager, and fast Maple Leafs team, or the hard hitting, big bad Bruins team? Whoever it is this has been an extremely entertaining and stressful series to watch. Let’s see who comes out of it and proves they want it more. Is there anything better, exciting, or more adrenaline filled as a game 7? I don’t think so. Round 1 or not it’s going to be a wild ride, for another season it’s the Leafs and Bruins and it’s game 7; hold on.