TORONTO – Police are temporarily barring more people from entering Maple Leafs Square to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Boston Bruins in the Buds’ first home playoff game in nine years.
Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) set up a large screen outside of the Air Canada Centre for fans to watch the game but just before the game started police were forced to turn people away.
The Leafs are hosting games 3 and 4 of its first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre at 7 p.m.
The series marks the first time since 1974 the two Original Six teams have played each other in the first round of the playoffs.
During a celebration at Scotiabank Plaza earlier on Monday, Mayor Rob Ford proclaimed the Leafs would win against Boston on the team’s way to finally ending the Stanley Cup drought.
“It’s time for new memories to be made, heroes to emerge and fans to unite as we are going to win the cup this year after we are finished with the Boston Bruins in the quarter finals,” Ford said. “This is going to be a party tonight, folks.”
Ford declared May 6 “Blue and White Day” to mark the Leafs’ first playoff series in nearly a decade. Fans are encouraged to wear the team’s colours in support.
Leafs’ centre Nazem Kadri said the support of Toronto fans at the Air Canada Centre gives him a “whole different gear.”
The Leafs got off to a rough start in their first post-season appearance since 2004, dropping a 4-1 decision in Game 1 at Boston.
But Saturday’s 4-2 victory, which saw Joffrey Lupul score twice and Kessel earn a rare goal against his former team, breathed even more life into a fanbase already amped up for some playoff action. Saturday night, Leafs fans had #thankyoukessel trending on Twitter.
Carlyle and his players said it felt good to return home on the heels of such a strong performance.
-with files from The Canadian Press