Maple Leafs hope for new ending in Game 7 against Bruins

Nazem Kadri

Nazem Kadri

There were no games last night for us to recap, but of course, tonight will feature Game 7 of the series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins.

Matthews directed 27 pucks on goal against Boston - tied for fourth in the entire first round - but had a shooting percentage of just 3.7 over the seven games. Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk victimized Gardiner on the game-winning goal, outracing him in the neutral zone before cutting inside and putting a shot between goaltender Frederik Andersen's legs.

Though the Maple Leafs held center Patrice Bergeron, left wing Brad Marchand and right wing David Pastrnak without a point in the three games they won, the Bruins' top line proved to be too much for them to handle through seven games.

After a Travis Dermott goal tied the game, Kasperi Kapanen had an wonderful individual effort to outduel Brad Marchand for the puck and then out deked Tuukka Rask, giving the Maple Leafs the lead. The Calder Trophy snub (he didn't finish in the top three of the vote) now has more time to get up to speed with a second-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning rather than head into the offseason on a sour note, individually and team-wise. The first game is Saturday.

Last year, they nearly beat the Capitals in the first round. While the perception of the latter stat has changed in recent years, being on the ice for five even-strength goals did not sit well with Gardiner, to say the least. That's generally when rumors begin to swirl, especially those concerning star players who don't produce numbers.

Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak combined for 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in Boston's four wins, including seven points (three goals, four assists) in Game 7. "One of the most incredible games I've ever been a part of".

"You can be good, but if you don't want to learn, obviously, the veteran guys, after a while will say, 'Hey if this guy doesn't want it, then we'll just move along, '" coach Bruce Cassidy said.

This series definitely had its ups and downs for both teams, yet the Bruins came up clutch when it mattered most.

And then there's Charlie McAvoy, who was clearly still trying to find his game during this series after getting just four regular season games to shake off the rest of his knee-injury absence.

Toronto will again be a fast, young and offensively risky team next season - but they need to learn how to win the big game. "Game 7 should be the same".

Game 2: Bruins at Lightning, Monday, April 30 at 7 p.m. The Bruins were lucky to escape allowing just the pair of Leafs goals, as they entered the third period with a one-goal deficit.

I can go on and on and point fingers, but the fact of the matter is, Toronto simply did not deserve to win this series.

"These are the moments we hope to be in in the future", Matthews said.

That, however, didn't make watching the replay any easier. "It seemed like everything I was doing ending up in the back of the net".

Now that the dust is beginning to settle on the Maple Leafs season, there will be plenty of explanations as to what went wrong and led to Toronto's elimination, but one rumor has already surfaced. "A lot of this game is on me". Toronto blocked a ridiculous 45 shots in those two games. And they lost to a team that aims to win a Stanley Cup this year.

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