The Stanley Cup playoffs were a disaster for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were defeated 3-1 by the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of the North Division semifinals on Monday night on home ice, squandering a 3-1 series lead. It was the first playoff meeting between the rivals in 42 years.
“It’s difficult to put into words. We’re definitely heartbroken and dissatisfied. We believed we were capable of a great deal more. Not only tonight, but throughout the series as a whole, “Sheldon Keefe, the coach, stated.
The figures are astounding. Since 2004, the Maple Leafs haven’t won a playoff series. They’ve lost their last eight series-clinching games. And they’ve lost a winner-take-all game in four straight postseasons: three Game 7s and a Game 5 against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the qualifying round last summer.
Most importantly, the Leafs haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967. The Maple Leafs were considered a viable Cup candidate after finishing first in the North Division with 77 points, 18 more than Montreal, the big underdog who finished their season on Monday night.
“The room was buzzing with anticipation. The objectives are higher than what we accomplished last year. It aggravates the disappointment even more “Morgan Rielly, a defenseman, stated. “We can sense it. We’ve realised we’ve squandered an opportunity. By our standards, that’s intolerable, and it makes the loss far worse than anything we’ve ever experienced.”
Game 7 was a hesitant, apprehensive affair for the Leafs. Montreal had scored the game-winning goal in both overtimes after the Maple Leafs had turned the ball over. And Toronto seem adamant about not making another expensive error, but that can only last so long. Two Toronto errors resulted in the opening two Montreal goals in Game 7. At 3:02 of the second period, a fumble by Leafs winger Mitchell Marner led to a Brendan Gallagher opportunity the opposite way, and the Canadiens forward beat goalkeeper Jack Campbell (20 saves) to open the scoring.
After the game, an emotional Campbell acknowledged blame for Gallagher’s goal, calling it “the worst goal of my career.”
“In the NHL, it’s a straight-on shot. It ought to be a one-click save. There are no justifications. This is intolerable. I’m simply sorry that the boys worked so hard and something like this happened tonight “Campbell, who went 17-3-2 in the regular season, was quoted as saying. “The team expects more from me, and I know I’m capable of a lot more. As a result, I’m going to get back to work and improve.”
Later in the session, Pierre Engvall was called for the game’s first penalty, a holding call against Montreal rookie Cole Caufield, and Corey Perry scored on the ensuing power play to make it 2-0 at 15:25 of the second period.
Perry’s goal came on a deflection off his leg, strange symmetry in the series, as it was a contact with Perry’s left leg in Game 1 that sent Leafs star centre John Tavares to the hospital and out of the game.
After an optional skate on Game 7 morning, Tavares was ruled out of the game due to a concussion and a knee ailment. On Monday night, he and defenseman Jake Muzzin were both missed in Toronto. Muzzin was set to miss at least three weeks due to a lower-body injury sustained in the Leafs’ Game 6 loss, but will now be able to return in the offseason.
To the future With an injury, Nick Foligno, the team’s huge trade deadline acquisition, was limited to four games in the series and only had one assist. In the series, Keefe said he was “far from himself, far from 100 percent.”
“Those guys are incredibly crucial to our team… but we were in a good place and didn’t close it out despite not having John and Nick,” Keefe said. “We made sure there were enough parts and depth to deal with those kinds of circumstances. There are no justifications.”
Tavares and Muzzin were absent from the starting lineup. The Leafs’ main offensive players were absent from the lineup.
After combining for 61 goals in the regular season, Auston Matthews and Marner combined for one goal in seven games (Matthews’ tally in Game 2). In his last 18 postseason games, Marner hasn’t scored a goal.
“We didn’t get enough points. We didn’t take the initiative. And it made things difficult “Keefe was alluding to Toronto’s losses in Games 5, 6, and 7 of the series.
It was made much more difficult by Carey Price’s outstanding goaltending, who reserved his best game of the series for the last, making 30 saves on Monday. In Game 7, he was the Canadiens’ greatest penalty killer, with the Leafs going 0-for-2. In the final three games of the series, Toronto’s power play went 0-for-7. Montreal had a 3-for-6 record.
“I felt like we had a couple of Grade-A chances right in front of the net that either rolled off a stick or we shot it too early in every game.” “With the puck, we need to be more patient,” Marner added. “It seems like the same things happen all the time.” We recognise that we must improve.