~I want to start this blog by acknowledging the recent events that took place in Toronto and send my deepest condolences to the victims and families affected by this terrible attack.~
Goosebumps. Absolute goosebumps. I literally could not have written a better story than this. From the Game 1 & 2 embarrassments to the Game 3 resurgence, Freddy’s turn around, a Game 5 win at the Garden and a Game 6 thriller for the books. What more could you ask for in a playoff series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. I’ll tell you what, a second round berth for the young Leafs, please. I am going to make this next statement very clear, we do not live in the past here. We don’t look at all the facts and stats that make up this series or any previous series before this. We look to one 60+ minute contest to decide the entire fate of a team’s season. I can’t even keep a steady train of thought with my mind in so many different area surrounding excitement, nervousness and everything in between. But let’s just keep things simple and determine what the Leafs did in Game 6 to be successful and how they can carry that momentum into Game 7 to push their way past the Bruins on Wednesday.
Game 6. Where do I start. Well, probably William Nylander’s best game of the series which really wasn’t hard considering how invisible he’s been. A couple terrific shifts was enough to notch him his first goal of the playoffs (making the game 1-1) and earning him a promotion back to Auston Matthew’s line. Next we have Mitch Marner. STUD. What more is there to say about this guy, he’s been an absolute weapon for the Leafs, especially against the Bruins. He leads the Leafs with 8 points in the 6 games against Boston this series and was also able to tally 9 points in 4 games against the Bruins this year while also carrying a +6 rating. My new favourite Bud, Tomas Plekanec (or as I like to call him “Tommy Pickles”) has been a great shutdown center since his movement up to the Marleau- Marner line. Since Game 2 the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line has been held to just 3 points with an astounding -14 rating. If that line isn’t buzzing, Boston has a hard time winning I will tell you that for free. He also benefited on the offensive side of the puck in Game 6, with a 1 goal, 1 assist night. Frederick Andersen…my god. I’m not sure where this guy was in the first two games but I am glad he is here now. He is playing out of his mind right now and looks a lot more comfortable than he did when the playoffs began. If he keeps the groove we’ve seen him show, I truly believe he has the ability to steal us Game 7 at the Garden. Connor Brown. Zach Hyman. Kasperi Kapanen. Nothing more needed there.
This is what it all comes down to Leafs fans. A historic year, an exhilarating ride, one last game to decide it all. Will this be the Leafs final tilt or will they be able to extend their season on to Tampa Bay? Time to walk through each of your superstitions, gather some friends, crack a few beers and get yourself a nice comfortable seat for the most exciting game of the year. Leafs. Bruins. Game 7. Wednesday.
…And for the love of god, would somebody please grab Charlie McAvoy a tissue.