The Toronto Maple Leafs can take pride from their first-round performance against the Boston Bruins as much as they can wince while watching that same Boston team catch fire in the following rounds of the 2013 NHL postseason. As Boston takes one of two in Chicago during the early stages of the Stanley Cup finals Toronto can only view the game from home, after allowing two goals in the final two minutes of Game 7 against Boston in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
“That was a terrible way to go out,” Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer said, via the team website. “It was one of the worst losses I have ever had. I couldn’t sleep that night. You hope you don’t have to go through something like that again. “I think that happens in all walks of life. You look at all the superhero movies — they don’t just start out being the best. Usually they fall down and then they get back up. The reason for that is it mimics life.
“I remember my rookie camp when I let in six goals in the second period. It was devastating. It was like, ‘What’s going on?’ Then at main camp I had a good game against Philadelphia and won a shootout game. Often when you look at life terrible things happen, but you learn from it and you get better.”
All in all, this season has to be considered a success for the long-dormant Maple Leafs. They have some major decisions to make, such as whether Reimer is a true No. 1 goaltender, but can take solace in coming out of nowhere to notch a No. 7-seed and nearly pull the huge first-round upset.
“I think we took huge strides this season,” Reimer said, via the team website. “I don’t think anybody gave us a chance at the start of the year. I think we were ranked to place 14th in the conference. The coach did a great [job] in terms of putting a plan in place, and everybody bought in. We went to work and had fun. It was a good year; better than most people expected.”