It’s game 7, and the Leafs are facing the Boston Bruins. The Leafs are up 4-3 heading into the third period. Surely these flashbacks I’m getting are just paranoia right? No, they aren’t, because Boston just scored 4 straight goals in the third period to win the series. Marchand cements it with the empty netter. Kill me.
There’s a lot of blame to throw around here, and I will get that out of the way now so I can attempt to end this on a positive note. Okay here is the obvious one – Jake Gardiner what the hell was that? That was the worst game he played the entire season. Bad decision after bad decision, no physicality, no desperation. That was garbage. I’ll give him credit for owning it after the game, but it doesn’t take away from that performance. I really expected better. As for the rest of the defense, they were all pretty MEH. The only pair that I thought actually looked good was the Dermott and Polak pair. They were fairly steady and it’s a real shame Dermott only got 11 minutes of ice time.
Matthews had a strong start with a couple scoring chances early, and I really thought this could be his breakout game, but he went MIA in the second and third period. For someone who went PPG in the regular season and paced for over 40 goals, he was a big disappointment. He wasn’t the worst by any stretch, but you need your big guns to step up and he got completely shut down.
I don’t understand how a line with Bozak and JVR, who should be in their prime, going against the softest competition, can be completely invisible. JVR 0 points, 0 shots, -3. Bozak 0 points, 1 shot, -2. It’s actually a little sad as it could be both their last games as a Leaf.
Who DID come to play? Mitch Marner, Patrick Marleau, William Nylander, and Kasperi Kapanen (what a goal!). All these guys played their heart out and it showed. I have become more and more impressed by Marner every game. This guy is a true franchise talent, and next to Matthews, should be the Leafs most important player in the coming years.
So the season is over and we are all still sour about the loss. Good news is that there are good things to come for this team. One lost series can’t take away the fact that this roster just broke franchise records! The core of the team can’t even grow a playoff beard yet. Don’t overreact and call for drastic changes. A couple upgrades would be nice (looking at you Tavares..) but at the end of the day, this is still a very promising young team. The future looks good Leaf fans.