The Toronto Maple Leafs Suffer Another Heartbreaking Game 7 Loss in Boston

For the fourth time in the past 11 years, the Toronto Maple Leafs season ends with a Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins. Speculation will immediately begin on possible changes to the roster.
May 4, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) scores the Game 7 overtime winner against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
May 4, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) scores the Game 7 overtime winner against the Toronto Maple Leafs. / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs season again ended suddenly in a Game 7 in Boston. For the fourth time in 11 years, the Boston Bruins eliminated their Original Six rival in a deciding game.

David Pastrnak scored the game-winner less than two minutes into the extra period on a diagonal dump-in from defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

A perfect bounce ricocheted onto the stick of the Bruins' best goal-scorer who was streaking down the right wing. He quickly deked a surprised Ilya Samsonov in the Leafs net. Samsonov hesitated to play the puck, allowing Pastrnak time and room to make his move.

That set off a celebration at TD Garden as the Bruins moved on to face the Florida Panthers in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

For the Leafs, it's another heartbreaking gut punch to the team and their fans. It was their sixth straight Game 7 loss, with four of them at the hands of the Bruins. Speculation will immediately turn to changes around the Leafs roster and coaching.

The Leafs Display Resiliency But Same Postseason Problems Persist

The Leafs received good news before Game 7 started: Rocket Richard winner, and Lady Byng nominee, Auston Matthews, would be in the lineup.

Unfortunately, goaltender Joseph Woll, who backstopped the Leafs to wins in Games 5 and 6, would not dress because of an injury in the previous game.

For a team that played with 13 different defensemen and four goalies throughout the year, and won the previous two games without Matthews, it was business as usual.

The Leafs withstood a better start by the Bruins and came out of the first period in a scoreless tie. Toronto carried the play during the second period, but the game remained tied 0-0 after two.

Leafs Beantown Misery Continues

Around the halfway mark of the third period the Leafs opened the scoring. A good forecheck by Tyler Bertuzzi on Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo caused a turnover. Bertuzzi fed Matthews who passed to William Nylander on his off wing. He scored his third goal in two games and the Leafs appeared on their way to a series comeback win.

The Leafs euphoria was shortlived.

Not long after that, Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman made a big save on Joel Edmundson. The Bruins took the puck up the ice and hemmed the Leafs in their end. A rolling puck came to Lindholm and his quick wrist shot found the net, high on Samsonov's blocker side.

The Bruins applied the pressure from there, but the Leafs withstood it and forced overtime.

The extra session didn't last long. Now, attention turns to the Toronto Maple Leafs and their core of players who have been part of eight unsuccessful postseasons, seven ending in the first round.

Speculation will also begin around head coach Sheldon Keefe's job security.

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has a new president. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a general manager only a year into the job, who didn't hire Keefe.


With yet another early spring exit, it seems unlikely the Leafs will run it back without significant changes among the players, coaching, or both.