The last decade-plus or so haven’t been particularly kind to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For one, they’ve made the postseason just four times since reaching the second round in 2004, and all four appearances resulted in first-round exits. Three of said exits have been to the Boston Bruins (2013, 2018 and 2019), with the series ending each time in a Game 7 at TD Garden.
This Maple Leafs season has been plenty bumpy, but they started to look like they might’ve been getting on track a bit, as they were sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division when the NHL season paused.
Had that result held, they would’ve avoided playing the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs for a change. However, the Covid-19 pause on the NHL has forced the league to get creative, and the players on Friday agreed to a 24-team playoff format.
Based on what the reported seedings would be, the Leafs would have to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in the “play-in” round in order to get to the traditional 16-team playoff.
If the Leafs did that, do you know who they would face in what technically would be the first round? You guessed it, the Bruins.
I’d just like to say I think it’s some sick joke that if the Leafs beat Columbus they’re still gonna have the play the Bruins after and then probably blow it in Game 7 again and I can’t wait to pass this pain of liking this team to my children
— Acacia Aster Broder (@AcaciaAster) May 23, 2020
I only like this idea because there could be Leafs vs Bruins….AGAIN
— Randle Carpenter (@RandleCarpenter) May 21, 2020
LEAF FANS: We're sick of playing Boston first round every year.
NHL: No worries fam. We're gonna put you up against a team that wouldn't normally make the playoffs but that won a huge upset last season.
NHL: Also if you win that you face Boston
— Acting the Fulemin (@ATFulemin) May 21, 2020
No solution is going to be perfect, but it would be hilarious if the Leafs and Bruins met in the first round for the third straight year when under normal circumstances they wouldn’t have.
Thumbnail photo via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images