Strap yourselves in. The biggest Leaf game in nearly a decade is just a few hours away.
Do the Leafs have the momentum, is Boston frustrated, does Boston feel the pressure more, did their delayed flight help them or hurt them? It’s all academic. Come puck drop tonight, this series is reset to a best of one and it comes down to who executes better over the 60 minutes.
There is some talk of a Leafs defencemen being injured and possibly out tonight (speculation obviously being Gunnarsson with his nagging injury), as Korbinian Holzer has joined the team in Boston. There has been only conjecture to this point and it is unlikely we’ll know for sure until seconds before the teams hit the ice. I was fortunate enough to be at the game last night, and the ACC announced Joe Colborne as a scratch and that Tyler Bozak was in the lineup. We later found out that Joe Colborne heard he was playing in Game 6 shortly after Game 5. It’s the playoffs, and especially with the matchup-y nature of our coach and this series in particular, Carlyle has been playing some head games with Claude Julien and keeping his lineup cards tight to the chest.
If I was Claude Julien, I would put some serious thought into moving Jaromir Jagr up onto a top line from puck drop. The Leafs have done a better job defending the Bruin cycle the past two games, but he’s one player who continues to give Leafs fits with his ability to protect the puck down low. He’s been their best forward the past two games and the Leafs should be conscious of that.
From our perspective, you have to take some confidence in knowing the Leafs have gotten increasingly better as this series has worn on. It seems better than the inverse; theoretically the Leafs have a pretty good idea of what they need to do to beat the Bruins whereas Boston has more questions than answers at this stage. Bruins fans are likely taking solace in their team’s ample experience in game 7 situations; many of these Bruins players won three of them en route to a Stanley Cup victory in 2011. They also lost a Game 7 to the Capitals in 2012.
What we can expect is this – We’ve all seen just how tight the last two elimination games played out, and there’s no reason to believe tonight will be anything but more of the same. Be sure to consult your doctor before watching this game if you have a history of heart-related illnesses.
Okay, enough talking in circles.. I’m too pent up on raw emotion for this game to try to deliver any sort of level headed analysis.
GO LEAFS GO!