The surroundings and circumstances were similar and unfortunately for the Toronto Maple Leafs so was the ending.
For the third time in the last six seasons the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff hopes came to a crashing halt in a Game 7 at TD Garden in Boston, this time dropping a 5-1 decision Tuesday (Apr. 23), to the Bruins.
Boston will now face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
It was another disappointing ending for a Leafs team that held a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“They’re a veteran team, they know how to play,” Toronto forward Auston Matthews said of the Bruins on Leafs Nation Network. “They’ve been in situations like this plenty of times.”
It was the Bruins secondary scorers doing the damage in this one, with Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom leading the way with a goal and assist each.
Nordstrom opened the scoring at 14:29 of the first when his shot from a bad angle found its way through Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen. Marcus Johansson made it added to the lead a little more than two minutes later on a turnover behind the net by Jake Gardiner.
John Tavares cut the lead to 2-1 early in the second and the Leafs continued to push for the equalizer, but it would be as close as they would come.
Kuraly got a big insurance goal under three minutes into the third and then empty-net goals by Charlie Coyle and Patrice Bergeron sealed it for the Bruins.
The Stanley Cup drought for the Leafs is now at 52 years, the longest of any NHL team.
“I think just the frustration that everybody feels in this locker room,” said Matthews, when asked what he and his teammates can learn from this. “It’s sad to see it end the way it did. This is obviously a feeling that we’ve experienced two years in a row and it’s not a good feeling for any of us.
“It’s something we not really want to experience again.”