It's Scary How Much This Toronto Maple Leafs Season Resembles 2013 and 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Seven
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Seven / Jared Wickerham/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs came back from a 3-1 deficit to force Game 7 for the third time in 11 years against the Boston Bruins.

I know that Scotiabank Arena and the streets of downtown were loud and proud for the Toronto Maple Leafs Game 6 victory, but all I could think of was future heartbreak. It's like that ex-girlfriend you can continue to get back in-touch with, thinking that they will change, but then they obviously don't and break your heart once again.

After four games, we saw all of the toxic traits of the Leafs, but then fast-forward two games later and they somehow seem like the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Have the last two games just been a fling, or is this the real deal? I'm having serious cold-feet thinking that Toronto can actually win Game 7 and continue on their Stanley Cup journey, but why can't this year be different?

Well, I find it hard to be different because we've seen this story too many times. Over the past 11 years, the Leafs have played in six Game 7’s (we’re counting the Best-of-Five Series for this exercise) and they’ve lost every game. For some reason, when this team has a chance at advancing in a series, they just can't do it.

It's Scary How Much This Toronto Maple Leafs Season Resembles 2013 and 2018

Losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens were all bad Game 7 losses, but three of those six Game 7 losses have came against the Boston Bruins, which makes Saturday night's game even scarier. Although the Bruins aren't quite the team they used to be, it's still another Game 7 in Boston's arena, against Brad Marchand.

When Toronto stormed back in 2013, it was all thanks to James Reimer, which is a very similar comparison to 2024 with Joseph Woll. Reimer stopped 72 of 74 shots in Game 5 and Game 6, guiding the Leafs to a 2-1 victory in both games. Sound familiar?

In Game 5 and Game 6, Woll saved 49 of 51 shots, helping the Leafs win each game 2-1. Woll wasn't as busy as Reimer was in those games, but it's the exact same narrative heading into Game 6. To make things even spookier, Reimer was a 25-year-old, which is the same age as Woll.

Goaltending has always been a sore-point for the Leafs and back in 2013, we all thought Reimer could be the future of this organization. However, after Game 7's performance that quickly changed and it was apparent that the team didn't have trust in him, as they acquired Jonathan Bernier that summer.

With a poor performance on Saturday night, the Leafs could look to free agency for another goaltender next summer, but if Woll plays tremendous, once again, he could be the future starter of this team and be the main reason why they have any chance at winning a Stanley Cup. We've seen storybook tales of goalies coming out of nowhere to guide their team to a championship in the past, so maybe Woll can be that player for the Leafs?


Knowing the Leafs, they'll find a way to blow this game on Saturday night and crush all of our dreams, but maybe for once, it can be different.