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Maple Leaf fever hits Toronto

Hockey fans in Toronto have waited a long time for this.

The Maple Leafs are finally back in the playoffs after nine long years and two lengthy work stoppages.

It may not be the dream matchup against the Montreal Canadiens that most Leafs fan seemed to be hoping for but the Boston Bruins are an original six rival.

After nearly decade of toiling in futility, Leafs Nation should just be happy that their team is back in the playoffs.

And they are.

Related: Full coverage of the NHL playoffs. 

The puck doesn’t drop for game one until Wednesday night but hockey fever has already spread across Toronto.

Tickets sold out for games three and four at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) despite an approximate markup of 75 per cent.

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Tickets sold through online brokers, social media sites and scalpers are going for thousands of dollars.

Fans decked out in blue and white showed up at the ACC a week before the first home game to try and win tickets with 10 of them successfully doing so.

Then there is the pride in the team that we have not seen since the Philadelphia Flyers eliminated the Leafs in 2004.

Car flags are once again proudly on display, bars and restaurants are decked out in team colours and names like Kessel, Lupul, Kadri and Reimer are dominating the talk around the water cooler.

There is even a heated debate that has gained a lot of traction online demanding that the CN Tower turn into the world’s largest goal light every time the Leafs score.

Will the Leafs beat the Bruins? Not likely. But in the playoffs anything can happen and for a fan base that has agonized and been subjected to ridicule for so long, anything from here on in is a bonus.

Enjoy it.