The Toronto Maple Leafs once again faltered in a Game 7, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 to be eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have not had much luck when it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They have not won a series since 2004, and have terrible Game 7 memories. This time, they reached the final game of the first round once again, with a chance to send home the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Instead, it was the same old story for the Maple Leafs, as they lost 2-1 to be eliminated from the playoffs. Once again, the Maple Leafs fanbase was heartbroken over the team failing to get over the hump that is the first round.
Maple Leafs fans lament after another Game 7 loss
As if this loss wasn’t enough of a gut punch, the Leafs now hold the longest active drought without a playoff series win, per SportsNet Stats.
The Leafs trailed 1-0 after a goal from Nick Paul. Yet, it looked as though Toronto had tied it on a tremendous goal by captain John Tavares. The prospective game-tying goal was quickly disallowed, as defenseman Justin Holl interfered with Tampa Bay forward Anthony Cirelli on the play.
Toronto defenseman Morgan Reilly would ultimately tie things up in the second with a goal of his own. Under three minutes later, Paul scored his second goal of the game to give the Lightning the lead, and they would not look back.
The Maple Leafs had 31 shots on goal, but 30 of them were stopped by goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky.
Toronto had the chance to eliminate Tampa Bay in Game 6, as they held a 3-2 series lead. Ultimately, the Lightning forced overtime and left the ice with a 4-3 victory to send the series back to Toronto.
Since 2004, this is Toronto’s fourth Game 7 loss. It may not have been as painful as the 2013 edition after their 4-1 third period lead turned into a 5-4 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins, but this latest loss sure has to sting for a fanbase that have patiently been waiting for the team to get a playoff series victory. They appeared to be so close and they gave the defending Stanley Cup champions a true fight until the end. But it just was not enough.
Now comes an offseason of uncertainty for the Maple Leafs, as they try to figure out how they can finally get past Round 1.