During the course of regular season hockey you often hear people calling certain games “a must win” which in a sense may be true, but the true definition of a must win game comes when a team is facing the possibility of elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which tonight in Game 5 is the case for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
On Wednesday the Leafs had a golden opportunity to even the series and avoid possible elimination in Game 5, all the Leafs had to do was beat the Bruins in Game 4 in front of a loud Air Canada Centre.
Through 20 minutes of play, it looked like the Leafs were well on their way to tying the series up at two, but unfortunately for the Maple Leafs and their fans, the Bruins woke up in the second frame with three unanswered tallies.
Clarke MacArthur’s first of the series tied things at three, and eventually the two teams would end up in overtime with very much on the line.
At 13:06 of overtime, David Krejci completed the hat trick, and at the same time, inserted desperation into the hearts of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“On the bench, to be honest, we felt it was just a matter of time before we got one,” said Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul, who scored the first goal of the game just 2:35 into the opening stanza. “So obviously it hurts a lot, but the series isn’t over”.
It’s obvious that many of the guys on the Maple Leafs roster have yet to experience this type of desperation at the NHL level as many of the Leafs’ players are playing playoff hockey for the first time in their careers.
The Bruins are the complete opposite as they’re lucky enough to have an experienced squad that has been here before. Shawn Thornton and the Bruins know the fourth one is the toughest one to get.
“We’ve been here before, we need to figure out how to close this out as soon as possible” said Thornton.
The Bruins are 15-2 all time when jumping out to a 3-1 series lead in the playoffs.
The Maple Leafs gave it their all in Game 4, and played one heck of a game Wednesday, the Bruins expect all that and some more from their Northeast division rivals in Game 5.
“We’re looking forward to them bringing it again [in Game 5] and we’ll bring it again too” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic.
If Lucic and the Bruins can “bring it again” in Game 5, the Bruins could very well be sending the Leafs home for the summer after just five games.