What Went Wrong: The Toronto Maple Leafs
This is a continuing series that will explore why the various teams that fall by the wayside did exactly that.
Good christ, and I thought the Ducks would be feeling bad about themselves. How do you even begin to sum up the amount of nut punch in that series? How can you manage to make the most playoff-starved fanbase in the league regret being there?
Everyone should have seen this coming, the Toronto Maple Leafs just decided to let the dam break in the most spectacular way possible. The things that plagued them in this series were the things that plagued them all season long. They’re simply not a good possession team at this moment time and if the shots on goal didn’t expose that (273-234 Bruins), then the shots toward goal definitely did (528-398 Bruins). Toronto did all they could to make up for that one simple fact; they blocked way more shots (141-92), they missed way fewer shots (72-114), and they were better on special teams (5/21 vs. 3/20 power play), but in the end it burned them.
Hiding behind the scenes are the mystifying decisions to sit Clarke MacArthur for two games, and to give Frazer McLaren (1 game) and Colton Orr (7 games at roughly 7 minutes per) any time at all. Sure Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin were somewhat invisible, but so too were Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski for the Leafs, and they could ill afford to have good players performing poorly.
The big guns all showed up. It seemed like James van Riemsdyk, Phil Kessel, and Joffrey Lupul would win the series on their own at times, but in the end it just wasn’t enough. The Leafs will have a lot of time to think about a series that was at one point not just winnable, but practically won, and how they let it slip away.