Looking to back to the Time the Toronto Maple Leafs Swept the Senators

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been swept by a team in the regular season before only to sweep that same team in the playoffs.
Sports Contributor Archive 2023
Sports Contributor Archive 2023 / Tom Szczerbowski/GettyImages

The playoff matchups in the Eastern Conference are all set and the Toronto Maple Leafs will take on the Boston Bruins in Round One of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Things for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Boston Bruins have not been pretty this season.

In four games, the Leafs have come out on the losing end each and every time, albeit once in a shootout and once during three on three overtime. However, the two regulation losses which are the most recent contests between the two teams has seen the Bruins outscore the Maple Leafs 8-2.

No matter which way you slice up those games, the Bruins have four wins and the Maple Leafs have zero.

Toronto Maple Leafs Look to 2001 for Inspiration

Believe it or not the Maple Leafs have had a worse regular season against a first round opponent than they have had this year.

Back during the 2000-01 season, which was the first full year at the Air Canada Center, we were at the peak of the Battle of Ontario. During that year the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs battled five times in the regular season with the Nation's capital each and every time and in commanding fashion.

In those five games, the Senators outscored the Leafs by a whopping margin of 20-10, including on the final night of the regular season when Ottawa put five goals past goaltender Curtis Joseph on 34 shots.

The two teams had met for the first time (it the midst of four times in five seasons) in the playoffs the year prior with the Maple Leafs coming out victorious in the series, but this time it looked as though the Senators were going to return the favour.

Ottawa had several things going in their favour, the Senators had swept all five regular season games and held the second seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Leafs limped through the regular season with the seventh seed, just two points ahead of the Boston Bruins who would miss the playoffs, with the Hurricanes claiming the tiebreaker for the final seed.

The Senators and Leafs would suit up for Game 1 six days after Joseph surrendered five goals for their fifth straight loss to their provincial rivals.

With all the odds against the Leafs and the Senators earning three consecutive powerplays to the start the game, Cujo would stand on his head.

The elite level goalie turned away all 36 shots he faced and midway through the first overtime Mats Sundin would score the legendary "ping" goal in the claim Game 1 by a score of 1-0, despite being outshot 36-27.

Game 2, the Senators would pour on the the attack, but Joseph was there time and time again; and this game he got a little more scoring in front of him. The Maple Leafs would rip home ice away from the Senators by winning Game 2, 3-0 with the Maple Leafs goalie stopping 37 shots and recording back-to-back shutouts in Ottawa.

Game 3 and Game 4 would be no different, Joseph would turn away shot after shot and the Maple Leafs took both games to sweep the playoff series 4-0.

The round one victory came after having a horrendous regular season against the Ottawa Senators and the Maple Leafs were able to flip the script from being outscored during the season series 20-10 to outscoring the Senators 10-3 in a four game sweep.

This isn't to say this years Toronto Maple Leafs team is that team, as 2001 had players like Gary Roberts, Darcy Tucker, Steve Thomas and Bryan McCabe who would put your face through the glass to win a shift; but at the same time they did not have the skill of Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner.


All this is to say that the season begins at Game 1 and everything that happened during the regular season can be forgotten.