Home Tags Posts tagged with "2013 Playoffs"
I keep repeating that word in my head. Just letting it marinate until I can chew on it and get it through my system. My body is shaking from emotional exhaustion. This is the adrenaline wearing off, I’m pretty sure.
Seeing Reimer on the ice face-down in despair… crushing.
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.
We’re going seven.
How many Leafs fans would have gladly accepted a one-game winner takes all scenario for the Leafs at the start of this series?
That’s where Toronto finds itself today.
After such a critical shortage of meaningful moments in the last decade for this hockey club, these last few days have been almost too much, too fast. Last night, the Leafs earned their first playoff home win in 9 years and the city went bonkers. Dion Phaneuf redeemed himself for his role in an OT loss last playoff home game – which at the time could have been the last this season – splatting yolk on the faces of certain media members eager to get an early start on their postmortem scapegoating of the most valuable members of the hockey team. Phil Kessel scored his third of the series in what proved to be the game winner, of which he now has two against the Bruins in this series. Now, there is a less than 24-hour turnaround to get ready for Game 7, the next biggest game for this fanbase since 2004.
My oh my.
Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
The Leafs are back in Toronto down 3-2 in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. One more win and it is back to Boston to determine the winner of what has already been an excellent display of hockey.
I want to take a moment to praise Gardiner. Friday night’s game was the best I have ever seen Gardiner play. I noted a while ago that there were many issues plaguing Gardiner’s game that the coaching staff needed to iron out. From missing assignments to giving up strong body position on the walls, or simply not being physically engaged, it was a really rough stretch for Gardiner.
If you have been following along with my Notebooks since the playoffs started, you’ll know that I’ve continually asked if James Reimer was going to steal the Leafs a game at some point in this series.
Well, he’s officially stolen one.
We’re headed back to Toronto for Game 6. The book isn’t yet closed on this team’s 2013 story as the Leafs continue to prove to their detractors that this season was no 48-game fluke. After three games in which the Leafs looked every bit Boston’s match, early Leaf domination gave way for the James Reimer show as the Leafs finally got the reward for all of their endeavour.
I remember it like it was last night. An ill-timed pinch, two Bruins streaking out of the zone, and a “dagger” into the heart of Leafs Nation after an overtime in which the Leafs carried the play. This one is going to take some time to digest. Although the boys battled their tails off, and went toe-to-toe with one of the favourites in the East, some mistakes and puck misfortune ultimately sealed the Leafs’ fate after starting 2-0 up in a brilliant first period.
If the story of game 2 was the Leafs’ excellent line-matching and the great performances from their stars, the story of game 3 was the Leafs shooting themselves in the foot.
The simple fact of the matter is that when you make the mistakes the Leafs did, you are rarely going to win a playoff game.
Alec already went through all of the goals against this morning so I’m not going bother doing that again. Plus, I think we all know what happened. Other than the first goal, which was the result of a lost faceoff and unfortunate bounce, the Leafs gift wrapped Boston three other goals with giveaways and poor defense.
The chances the Leafs have at beating Boston after spotting them three easy goals have to be slim to none.
I was one of the more deflated Leafs fans after witnessing game 1 of this Leafs-Bruins playoff series. I knew Boston previously matched up like kryptonite against the Leafs, and the game went pretty much exactly as I envisioned in my head; essentially, it was an extension of the last dozen or so matchups against the Bs.
Then Game 2 happened. And, even after last night’s Game 3 loss, I now consider myself considerably less pessimistic.
Let’s break down the goals against from last night:
Lee Stempniak, Andrew Raycroft, Vesa Toskala, Jonas Gustavsson, Brett Lebda, John Ferguson Jr. Those and others like them have plagued the Maple Leafs for the past eight seasons and gave us fits of hopelessness, despair, and rage. Tonight represents the the culmination of Toronto’s retooling; the first playoff game in the Air Canada Centre since May 4th, 2004.
As much as our excitement over a first round series has been mocked , it’s generally falling on deaf ears. Are we over doing it for a first round series? I don’t think so. I think the hockey world is just getting reacquainted with how real hockey fans support their team in the playoffs. Hockey in Toronto is not confined to the arena, it spills out across the entire city.
Seems nobody told the Leafs this wasn’t supposed to be much of a series.
Toronto stole home ice advantage from Boston with a thrilling 4-2 win last night and if the first playoff game back in Toronto didn’t already hold enough intrigue, it’s now going to be officially bonkers.
Well, that was a rude awakening wasn’t it? Here we were all were excited and pumped up about playoff hockey… Only to come crashing back to Earth watching the Leafs play like that.
After the jump, I’ll discuss the main narratives circulating right now and offer my two cents. From there I proceeded to re-watch the game – unfortunately — and have written out some additional notes. I’ll wrap up with the biggest questions going into Game 2.
We are within 2 hours (update: 1 hour, 50 minutes) (update 1 hour, 49 minutes) (update 1 hour, 48 minutes) of the moment we’ve all been waiting for – Leafs playoff hockey.
No official word on final lineup combinations as of yet but we’ll update as soon as we know.
Photo: Associated Press
Since when do the Leafs do things the easy way, anyways? The truth is the Leafs made their bed on this one. All they had to do was beat Montreal at home on Saturday night to play the Habs and give everyone the series they wanted to see. They laid an egg. Boston blows a two goal lead against Washington and then lets in a late one against Ottawa to lose two games in a row and here we are.
I don’t think the Leafs have a better chance at beating Boston than they did Montreal, but I’ll say this about the series: Nobody is seriously picking the Leafs to win this one and I look forward to seeing Toronto in the underdog role. If nothing else, hopefully they make this a war.
The Leafs finish the season at 26-17-5 (57 points) and not on the note we were hoping for headed into the playoffs. Their round 1 opponent is now up in the air and will depend on the result of tomorrow’s Ottawa-Boston game.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are officially in the playoffs.
I hope that felt as good to read as it did to write.
It has been a long nine years since Jeremy Roenick broke Leafs Nations’ hearts in 2004. The excitement that year was nuts. The Leafs traded for Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch for a bunch of guys nobody knew existed and Toronto was buzzing with Stanley Cup hopes. I remember Leetch’s first game against the Islanders; Leetch had three points and the TV broadcast had this stupid iso-camera on Leetch every time he touched the ice. (Ironic side note: the only player traded in the deal who became relevant in the NHL was drafted with the expended second round pick, a player by the name of Michael Sauer – you know, the guy who had his career ended by Phaneuf).