Leafs fan: A New Perspective to Game 7 Collapse

Updated: May 16, 2013

An epic collapse — one that made NHL history. A game that will bug me for a long time, despite my already cast-iron stomach from the Leafs string of failures.

But as dismal and dejected as that sounds, the now infamous Game 7 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins on Monday night can also be seen as the greatest comeback in a Stanley Cup Game 7, ever.

Down 4-1 in the third period with ten minutes left, the Bruins rallied back to force overtime, scoring the eventual winner.

As a jilted Leafs fan, I’m encouraged to move on from this. I should get over it as best I can, like athletes are trained to do.

“The Leafs are heading in the right direction. They’re a real force now.”

“Tough loss. Great season. Good young core. Just the beginning.”

“Dude, I’m so sorry for the way the Leafs season just ended.”

“No fan deserves that.”

Kind words from friends – but trust me I’d rather get:

“HA! Suck it.”

“Take That F*cker.”

“God I hate them.”

I want people to hate the Leafs and hate playing them. But on Monday night, the Leafs did something that rarely happens in sports. They got unattached fans and mere spectators to feel bad for them; some people who didn’t even watch the game.

Now, that’s an all-time low.

But that wasn’t the only thing the Leafs did on Monday that’s rare to see. Before this series started, no one was picking the Leafs to win, let alone push it to a 7th game. Not after the Game 1 drubbing. Not after the game 4 heartbreaking loss in OT.

Against all odds — they clawed back, setting themselves up for an unbelievable upset — the chance to send the team that’s dominated them for the better part of the last decade packing. A classic case of David pushing Goliath back.

Then it happened. The roles of Leafs and Bruins were reversed. David and Goliath reversed. For 50 minutes on Monday, it was the Leafs who looked like the team that belonged, and the Bruins who seemed to have met their match. Toronto was the big, bad, bruising team that beat you to every puck, out-chanced you — the team that appeared to have it in the bag.

In those 50 minutes the Leafs went from Cinderella story to villain. From David to Goliath. Now it was the Bruins making the unbelievable comeback, against all odds. A team down and out, with no chance — rising from their half nailed coffins — doing the unimaginable to upset the better team.

An improbable ending to an improbable run to Game 7 — David beats Goliath, once again.

That’s the beauty of playoff hockey. Momentum can turn on a dime and story lines fuel the hits, the saves, and the broken limbs. But on this night, we saw a team go from down and out, not belonging, to being upset by a team that for 50 minutes of Game 7 didn’t belong – all in the span of a week.

No matter how you look at it – if the Bruins don’t win the Cup this year that great Boston moment will have been for nothing. This team doesn’t need to add another round one victory to their resume. It’s Cup or bust for the Bruins.

This one will sting for awhile, but for 50 minutes on Monday, I got the chance, for the first time in a long time – to watch a team that belonged in the game no one thought they’d be at, one that they earned to play in.

I can’t wait to see more.

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