The Maple Leafs have done a lot to their fans over the years, giving reason for angst and frustration. In all of the series I can remember in hogtown, the atmosphere inside and outside of the building on Bay may not be second to any from the last two decades. The first Leaf playoff win in Toronto in nine years therefore should be something to cherish, as it was the most beautiful game of the series. Each contest the team in blue has gotten better, and for longer stretches. Tonight was no exception, as the Leafs only had brief periods of letdown, and only one braincramp from a single player that allowed the Bruins to have a chance in the final 25 seconds.
This playoff series, regardless of how it ends, has been nothing short of spectacular for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The demons in Toronto have hardly found time to expose themselves, while some demons from Boston past are very much alive. Toronto goes into Game 7 with nothing at all to lose, as the team was summarily written off by most experts when the Senators beat the Bruins to create the match. Boston, however, has much more to prove tomorrow, as with the exception of the Stanley Cup season, they have created a habit of blowing playoff series when in clinching position.
The story of the game has to be the one in goal for Toronto, as James Reimer has been nothing short of spectacular. His performance since being called out by Randy Carlyle after Game 4 has been reminiscent of Eddie Belfour and Curtis Joeseph from playoff series of a decade ago. Making the pedestrian saves is one thing, but he had to make at least four three alarm saves between games 5 and 6 that have proven to have won those games. Those hall of famers kept playoff hockey alive in Toronto a lot longer than they deserved as well. While much has to be proven to be considered among the goaltenders listed above, he is doing his part with these nostalgia inducing performances.
Highlights from the game:
– Mikhail Grabovski owes James Reimer a steak dinner. That shutout was coming, and that icing call was selfish. He had room to work off the wall and gain the red line before dumping the puck and quite simply he cost the Leafs a goal, and kept the game alive longer than it should have been.
– The Leafs have been hitting the Bruins like they have a deathwish. They actually look like the Bruins normally appear when they are playing Toronto. When this series ends, win or lose, here is hoping this pays dividends for a long time because the Leafs have not been this difficult to play against in some time.
– Tonights Maddies Mark player of the game was without question James Reimer. His second stellar performance stole a game from the Bruins, and made it one of the best days ever for the Morweena Miracle. For more information on how you can provide many “best days ever” for sick children, visit www.maddiesmark.org
– Happy Mothers Day mom, and to all mothers out there.