I took some time to sleep on this article because I knew if I wrote it directly after the game, it would just be a whole bunch of mumbled nonsense with no rhyme or reason. And yet, many hours later, I think I’m even more emotionally distressed. This isn’t going to be an analytical review of the game, and there’s not going to be any positives or negatives because, at this point, what the fuck does it matter. They lost. They played horribly for at least 2 periods, and when they finally managed to get something going, the 2nd worst turnover I’ve ever seen at the NHL level (Galchenyuk narrowly hangs onto 1st place) happens, and the game is over in an instant. Plain and simply, it wasn’t good enough last night; that much is obvious. Of course, they needed to drive the knife a little deeper into the wound before pulling it out, though, again showing their “mental fortitude,” whatever that fuckin means. There’s something to be said for coming back in 2 straight games, but again, no one cares about a comeback if you don’t finish it. You’ve just made half of Toronto hate Travis Dermott because he made one of the worst plays of his career due to your inability to score a goal.
Look, there’s a lot of blame being thrown around on the socials to one player or another, and that’s fine. The top guys have to score a goal here or there, and the fans have a right to respectfully criticize whoever they see fit, but I don’t know how you see last night as anything other than a team failure. Every shift was like watching a replay of the shift beforehand, it was truly exhausting, and you just knew they were never going to score. Until they got down a couple goals to a genuinely terrible hockey team, then they decided it was time to show up. And yes, the Habs are objectively awful, and the last 2 games are proof. Only horrible hockey teams let the TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS come back TWICE in 3rd period, down 2 goals. And I guess that makes the Leafs terrible too, maybe it does, or perhaps my theory is correct, that they are cursed. These things don’t happen to teams that aren’t cursed, and I cannot be convinced otherwise. Look at Bill Buckner and the Red Sox or Steve Bartman and the Cubs; perfect examples of curses ruining a whole organization, I guess we only have like another 5 decades to wait until we win again. The Toronto Maple Leafs are destined to become this decade’s San Jose Sharks. Oh wait, that couldn’t be true because the Sharks actually won a ROUND!
Somehow, there is still a game 7 to be played, and yes, everything will be forgotten if they exercise their demons tomorrow night and win the game. Yet, with everything that’s happened over the past 54 years to this franchise, it seems impossible to believe that there is a scenario other than an unbearable, heartbreaking loss. But if they do want to win, they’re going to need to have a better start, most importantly. If they can make the Habs chase the game, things will start to open up, and it should be a relatively secure win as long as they score their chances, which is clearly a lot easier said than done. They also need to move their fucking feet and win board battles; this is the playoffs, fly-bys should not be accepted, be hard on the puck. Lastly, make their defenseman work. If they’re only going to use 4 defensemen (Kulak and Gustafsson played 6 minutes each in game 6), then put the puck behind them and get after it. Work the cycle until you find an opportunity to score. That’ll force the Montreal D to keep their feet moving.
Two words that every hockey fan loves to hear, game 7, what a fucking occasion for this group to shut everyone up, and if the team isn’t looking at it like that, they’ve lost already. I know I’ve done pretty much the opposite this entire article, but, Leaf fans, we got to stay positive. The time for yelling and complaining is for if they lose. Could you imagine if they actually fucking won? Just keep that image in your head until puck drop, the celebrations of winning a game 7, LFG Buds, LFG.