Toronto’s season came to a crashing halt at TD Garden on Wednesday night with a 7-4 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7. In what was a thrilling back-and-forth elimination game, the Leafs held a one-goal lead after 40 minutes of play before surrendering four unanswered goals to bow out of their Round One series.
- Patrick Marleau scored the Leafs’ first two goals of the game. He is now tied with Bryan Trottier for 15th place on the all-time list with 71 career post season goals.
- Travis Dermott collected his first career playoff goal. On the play Dermott’s initial point shot was blocked by David Pastrnak, but the Leafs defender kept with the play, and wired the puck past Tuukka Rask
- Kasperi Kapanen scored the highlight reel goal of the game, a shorthanded tally that started with stripping Brad Marchand of the puck to gain a partial breakaway, then pulling a crafty deke move on Rask for what was the go-ahead 4-3 goal.
Kapanen is also the youngest player in NHL history to score a Game 7 short-handed goal. https://t.co/OJhJu84DHI
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 26, 2018
- This defeat isn’t entirely on the shoulders of goaltender Frederik Andersen, without whom the Leafs would have enjoyed their 49-win regular season, and an opportunity to play in Game Seven in the first place. Having said that, the go-ahead goal (5-4) scored by Jake DeBrusk after the Bruins forward got inside position on Jake Gardiner was a save that Andersen had to make.
Please refer to this tweet from the last week of the regular season:
Which Andersen will show up for the playoffs. The one who made that incredible save off Palmieri on the Leafs' PK? Or the one who gave up the weak angle goal to Zacha. Answer determines round one fate.
— Rob Del Mundo (@Rob_DelMundo) April 6, 2018
- It’s not easy to be critical of Auston Matthews, the face of the Leafs franchise, and a player who has persevered through a pair of short-term injuries this year. But the numbers don’t lie – two points (one goal, one assist) in seven games simply wasn’t good enough.
- Leafs fans waited for Nazem Kadri to redeem himself after earning a three-game suspension that hindered his team’s chances of winning the series. Instead, he was relatively quiet, except for an awful turnover to David Backes in the second period that was nearly disastrous.
- There is plenty of blame to be spread for the Leafs’ loss, but the team’s Achilles heel – not just in Game 7 but over their season – is on the blue line. And the poster boy for Wednesday’s elimination loss is Jake Gardiner. In a game plagued by giveaways and miscues, the defender simply looked like he was in a fog. By the time Pastrnak gave the Leafs some insurance on the sixth goal, Gardiner – completely out of position – appeared to have mailed it in.
- Over the last 1:27 of the second period and the first 8:00 of the third period, the Leafs didn’t register a shot on goal. A team facing elimination has to have more resilience than that. We’re not saying it was Game 6 versus New Jersey in 2000. But the response to adversity that was evident in Game 5 and 6 didn’t materialize.