2013 NHL Playoffs: Toronto Maple Leafs 1 v. Boston Bruins 4

Jared Wickerham

The Toronto Maple Leafs first playoff game in nine years was the dud that so many were worried that it would be. The Leafs will have two days to figure out what they can change (hint: the fucking roster) to give themselves a better chance to win.

Let's get this out of the way first: this was a great night for the first sixteen minutes as the Leafs played their first playoff game in what I am told is a long time and actually had a lead after an early powerplay goal by James Van Riemsdyk. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Here are some bullet points to help figure out what went wrong:

  1. The good news is that it takes four losses to lose a series. Also good news: there is no way to lose four times in fewer than four games so we will get to see at least that many games after a long drought. There will still be some good moments.
  2. The 1993 Leafs were destroyed in their first two games on the road against the Detroit Red Wings in seven games. That in no way applies to this series but it's a nice memory.
  3. They say that a series doesn't officially begin until a team loses on home ice for what it's worth.
  4. The Leafs had more blocked shots, more hits, won more face offs, and were outshot. Somehow, that didn't translate to a win.
  5. The Leafs were overrun. There is really no other word for what happened. There are systemic and personnel issues with this team that are as glaring tonight as they were when Randy Carlyle was hired.
  6. It was amusing to see people discussing the Leafs' problems on Twitter as if they had suddenly manifested tonight. They are the same problems.
  7. If your goalie faces 40 shots then the odds that there will be some bad luck (Mike Kostka's attempt as goaltending) or just bad goaltending (Jonny Boychuk's goal) that leads to a goal. When you allow fewer shots then you lower your probability of catching one of those spanners. It's not rocket science.
  8. James Van Riemsdyk's goal was great. His shot off the crossbar came on a beautiful shorthanded rush. The defensive play afterwards was atrocious.
  9. Phil Kessel, as has been the case against Boston, faced a Selke candidate, a Norris candidate, and a Vezina candidate every time he was on the ice and struggled. It's a mystery what's wrong at this point.
  10. Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren were visibly behind the play, didn't prevent Mikhail Grabovski from catching a filthy headshot from Andrew Ference or getting blown up by Ference, and took stupid penalties. Please, let them play more.
  11. Grabbo was a beast.
  12. Jake Gardiner's agent should tweet something again because watching the Leafs struggle to move the puck is going to give me a stroke. All the team is instructed to do is chip it out of the zone. That is an improvement on not getting it out of the zone but just barely. The puck repeatedly and quickly kept coming right back down the Leafs' throat and the Bruins' capitalised on it.
All in all, it was pretty awful game but thankfully it only counts for one. The Leafs are going to be heavily dependent on getting outrageous luck in addition to doing things properly. When you marry an inability to make correct decisions with some bad luck then you get tonight's game.
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