Toronto Maple Leafs

April 23, 2019 6:00 am
Updated: April 23, 2019 6:01 am

Rick Zamperin: Yet another Game 7 for Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) makes a blocker save during first period NHL playoff hockey action against the Boston Bruins in Toronto on Sunday, April 21, 2019.


Game 7 again? Seriously? Oh, for the love of Pete.

For the second year in a row, and the third time since 2013, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins will decide their first round playoff series by playing a Game 7.

Raise your hand. How many of us Leafs fans are confident going into Tuesday night’s winner-take-all game? Seeing only a few hands. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Over the last six games, both teams have proven to be the other’s equal. Toronto has won Games 1, 3 and 5, while Boston has claimed Games 2, 4 and 6, and each team has won twice on the road.

READ MORE: Bruins top Leafs 4-2 to force seventh game

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Toronto’s all-time record in Game 7s is 12-11 while Boston is 14-12. The Bruins, by the way, have played the most Game 7s in NHL history.

Toronto and Boston have played four Game 7s against each other. The Leafs have won just one of them, 3-2, in 1959. The Bruins beat the Buds 2-1 in 1941, 5-4 in overtime in 2013, and 7-4 in 2018.

The Leafs have been the better team 5-on-5 in the series, outscoring Boston 11-8. But the Bruins’ power-play has been much more lethal, scoring on seven of their 16 opportunities with the man advantage. Conversely, Toronto’s power-play has converted only three of their 14 chances.

When it comes to Game 7s between these two teams, recent history has certainly been on Boston’s side.

Leafs fans haven’t forgotten last year’s Game 7 loss in Boston, and who can forget the dreaded ’18 wheeler’ in 2013, in which Toronto blew a 4-1 lead in the third period at TD Garden and lost 5-4 in overtime?

But that was then (Toronto had trailed each of those series 3-games-to-1) and this is now. Both teams know last year and 2013 have no bearing on what happens Tuesday night.

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If the Leafs lose Game 7, we will all point to Toronto’s inability to win a Game 7 in Boston. If the Bruins lose, we’ll sing the virtues of a new era in Leaf-land.

Game 7 is do or die, when mistakes are magnified and great performances are remembered forever. Who will be the goat? Which team is going home? Which one is moving on to round two?

We’ll find out after the two best words in hockey: game seven.

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