The Toronto Maple Leafs lost in the first round, again, but at least this time they didn’t blow a 3-1 lead to a clearly inferior opponent.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are two-time Cup Champs, and it shows. The Toronto Maple Leafs were the better team, and yet, in game seven, the Lightning just shut the door.
There is no shame in losing to one of the greatest teams of all-time.
The Leafs were the better team throughout the series, and they dominated play in game seven, but the Lightning just didn’t make any errors for the Leafs to capitalize on, and Andre Vasilevskiy showed why the opinion that he is the NHL’s best goalie is pretty much the only consensus opinion in the entire discourse of the NHL.
It’s a rough loss, but the Leafs lost with honour and dignity, and there are a lot of positives, and the future continues to look very bright.
Toronto Maple Leafs Lose Again
If I wasn’t witnessing it first hand, I honestly would be hard-pressed to believe a team could be so unlucky.
They were goalied by Columbus, Montreal won two of the flukiest OT games ever (not to mention all the injuries) and Tampa got a massive assist for incompetent referees, who forced the teams to play game seven when Toronto should easily have won game six on their own merits.
I mean, even the fact that they had to play Tampa was unlucky. A franchise record win and point total, and the reward was the back-to-back Champs.
Last year, the luck factor was over shadowed by the fact that Montreal was a garbage team on the verge of implosion, and the Leafs should have won anyways.
This year, everyone seems to agree with me: This is a great team that just got a bad break.
For what it’s worth, Tampa didn’t win their first Cup until twelve years had passed after drafting Steven Stamkos. In the six years following his first overall selection, the Lightning only made it out of the first round once, which isn’t much better than the Leafs.
It took a lot of patience, and eventually they built what turns out to more or less be a dynasty. The Leafs – if they stay the course- are on the same track. The important thing is to ignore the whiners who will use this loss to further their agenda, and to put apply, post-hoc, the criticisms that have been proven wrong, but which always come to light from bad faith actors when the results don’t go there way.
Basically what I’m saying is that there will be disingenuous people who, now that the Leafs lost, will go back to harping about the salary cap, the team’s make up, their GM, and toughness. If you thought these people were annoying last year, just wait.
But as for the rest of us who are able to look beyond results, both the future and present are very bright. This is a great team who just got unlucky, and moving forward, they will continue to be among the best the NHL has to offer.
Take the bones of this team, and add in Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin – two future stars on the blue line. Now throw in Nick Robertson, and whoever develops properly out of the seemingly limitless highly ceilinged prospects this team has in the pipeline and watch good things happen.
The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t get the result they wanted, but when you fail, you just get back up and try again. It’s what having “heart” means. The Leafs will only be better, eventually, because of these results.
It hurts to lose, but how you lose matters more than if you do. This team lost with honour and they are on the right course.