I feel bad for anyone that was watching the NBA playoffs last night. You missed a thriller in Bean Town and a schlacking at the Capital.
And just to ice it off: *SPOILER ALERT* the Miami Heat take the ‘ship.
I told you.
The score was 4-1 when The Dream scored his first career playoff goal. And it looked like that insurance marker was the dagger in the heart of the Boston faithful. That was the Leafs second goal of the period, and they looked to be cruising into the second round where they’d meet King Henrik and the Rangers.
But then this happened.
Just ruthless, it reminded me of a Canucks game. One from this season though, because they have been generally good in the third periods the past few years. Everyone knows that you play to win and not to lose, and the only acceptable way to sit back on a lead is if your coaches name is Jacques Lemaire. Because then you already know how the trap works, you’ve been doing it the entire season.
What they really needed to do last night was continue playing with energy, driving the net and capitalizing on chances. We saw this in game five when the Bruins came close to tying the game and sending it into overtime. And then we saw it on Sunday, when Lucic scored with 30 seconds left to make it 2-1. And then there was last night.
Being a Canucks fan, it makes me a little happy to see such a collapse. One that reminded me of the 0-3 hole the Flyers were against the Bruins in 2010 that saw them pushing it to game seven, being down three again and coming back to win the series. Going all the way to the cup finals, where they lost to the Blackhawks.
Back to being a Canucks fan. I can’t really be all that happy about the Leafs collapsing like this, because well, the Canucks were swept. At least the Leafs played with heart, and never gave up on the series even when they were down 3-1. The Canucks got one solid period from Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows, and maybe four or five shifts out of the Sedins. Phil Kessel answered the media, scoring four goals, including the third goal last night, he also assisted on Kadri’s what should have been insurance marker.
I think after this series, the debate over that Kessel trade should be put to rest. Along with Kessels four goals were two assists. He scored the game winner in game six and a pretty important third goal in game seven. Seguin had one point. His one point did come in overtime of game seven though, so I guess that’s worth like three, but Kessel was the better player in this series.
Leafs fans have to be happy with the way their team played, they took the Bruins –who should be a favourite right now– to game seven. Reimer was basically a brick wall, Kessel was hot, they played steady defensively and they played exciting hockey. The only thing that they might be a little bit cheesed with is the fact they got dominated in the circle. In game seven the Bruins won 43 face-offs. The Leafs won 18. Nobody on the Bruins team was under 50% in the circle. Only one player for the Leafs was 50%. That was Leo Komarov.
He had an awesome series. And it all started with his fight with Chris Kelly in game one.
The Leafs were embarrassed in their first playoff game in nine years, and Komorov shook things up a little. After that, the Leafs went back to playing their brand of hockey that got them into the playoffs. Run and gun, with the stars scoring, and getting a little bit of help from their talented back-end.
When Morgan Reilly comes into the fray next season, they will have two of the most talented defensemen in the league in him and Gardiner. This isn’t the last time that we’ll be seeing the Leafs in the playoffs.
I consider them to be a lot like the Islanders. They’ll be here for a while, and this is just the start of their quest for Stanley.