The Boston Bruins. The Toronto Maple Leafs. Game 7 at TD Garden. Sound familiar?
The Bruins and Leafs will settle their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series Wednesday night on Causeway Street with a winner-take-all battle. We’ve been here before, of course — just five years ago.
And if Wednesday night’s game comes anywhere close to matching the 2013 installment, we’ll be in for a treat — and perhaps the need for a pacemaker.
It’s borderline to impossible to forget the events of May 13, 2013 — no matter how hard Leafs fans may have tried. But a quick refresher won’t hurt, right?
The Bruins took an early lead on a first-period goal by Matt Bartkowski (seriously). The Leafs, making their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade, responded in a big way, though. Toronto stormed back to take a 4-1 lead that seemed insurmountable.
Midway through the third period, the Leafs seemed destined to advance. But then Nathan Horton breathed a little life into TD Garden with a goal to make it 4-2. Then, in the final frantic moments of the game, Milan Lucic got Boston within one, and Patrice Bergeron’s heave from the blue line beat James Reimer, and the game was tied.
And then overtime happened, and we all knew how that was going to go.
(If you have about 45 minutes to kill, Sportsnet has a very extended highlights package on YouTube.)
In terms of the here and now, though, what happened in 2013 probably won’t have much bearing on Wednesday night’s game. There are just four Maple Leaf holdovers from the 2013 team on the current roster, and this club is more talented than the team that choked away a three-goal deficit.
Even more important, the Leafs are under new management, and Stanley Cup winning coach Mike Babcock certainly won’t be concerned about something that happened five years ago.
“This is fun. This is where you wanna be,” Babcock said after the Leafs’ Game 6 win Monday. “You wanna be in these moments in your life. You don’t remember everything in your life. What you do, is you remember moments. You want to create those moments, you want to create those memories. Here’s an opportunity for us to create memories for a good group of guys who like each other a lot.”
Will Babcock and the Leafs break through, or will history repeat itself? Luckily, we only need to wait a few hours to find out.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube/Sportsnet