With Nothing to Lose, Expect the Toronto Maple Leafs To Loosen Up and Win

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Three
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Three / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs are down, but not yet out.

The first four games of the series haven't been as bad as the 3-1 deficit makes it look. In fact, the Toronto Maple Leafs have played well enough to win each game of this series so far.

They didn't, but it's not like they've played badly.

Now, with nothing to lose, the stage is set for a comeback.

I predict it will be glorious.

With Nothing to Lose, Expect the Toronto Maple Leafs To Loosen Up and Win

The Leafs are 1-14 on the PP.

They are killing penalties at a 50% clip.

They have scored on just over 6% of their shots in this series.

They are 1-8 over their last nine games (regular season and playoffs combined).

Auston Matthews has something like one goal on his last 50 playoff and regular season shots combined.

All of the above stats are terrible, but they are also so bad that bad luck almost has to be partially to blame.

As everyone who has ever been on the inside of an improbable run in sports or cards knows quite well, the longer it goes, the tenser you get, the worse you play, and what started out as bad luck ends up turning into a cycle of failure.

I think that's what is going on with the Leafs - their luck has been bad, but they've become infected with it to the point where it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So being on the brink of elmination, against a team that blew a 3-1 series lead last year (making the prosepect of a comeback seem unlikely) might.......actually be a good thing?

The Leafs season is all but over. The odds of this team suddenly finding whatever it is that they are missing and turning it around seem to be somewhere near zero.

And yet...

I think this might be just exactly what the doctor ordered. The season is pretty much a write-off at this point, and that means they might finally relax.

That means they can just let go of all the pressure and the baggage and misery and everthing else that is bugging them.

Joseph Woll can come in and give the team some confidence. The Leafs will unleash their offense and get back to playing the kind of hockey they're good at it.

A win in Boston, then home to win in front of the home crowd, and a game 7 in Boston that was pretty much always destined to happen. I don't feel great about what's happened so far, but I think it might be a necessary thing.


With nothing to lose, the Leafs can finally relax and do what they're supposed to do.