14 May Leafs Lose Game 7
Top 5 Reasons the Leafs Fueled the Bruins Come Back in Game 7
1) No change in defensive zone coverage strategy: Sure Carlyle came into game 7 with a few tricks up his sleeve when it came to line combinations, but one thing remained the same… the box and one D-Zone coverage strategy that the Bruins mercilessly exploited.
All series it seemed that when ever the Bruins got into the Leafs end, they tried desperately to work the puck down low and stuff it on net, all the while having all 5 Leaf players collapse in a frenzy in front of an unmovable Reimer. Game 7 saw the Bruins decide to start moving the puck back to the points, and having trailers creep into the high slot to bang in one timers while the puck-focused leafs remained unaware of the impending dangers. Let’s face it, there was not even an inkling of awareness to get into the high shooting lanes quicker in all 3 periods. How many blocked shots did you see?
2) Unnecessary passes to the point: The Leafs were doing a great job of trickling the puck deep, but they were unable to keep it there! The theme should have been grinding it out on the boards down low with as much cycling below the top of the circles as possible to kill the clock. But, the Leafs continued to take chances and come back south up the half wall to pass the puck to the points instead of staying strong north. When it boils down to it, the Bruins did a superb job taking space away from the Leafs down low in their end and forcing them back toward the points for turn-over after turn-over. The young Leafs just weren’t willing to earn the right to battle it out in the dirty areas down low.
3) Not strong on lines: The more desperate Boston got, the stronger they got on the Leafs blue line. When it boiled down to it, the Leafs didn’t get it out when they had to. They gave the bruins too much room up top and because the Leaf forwards were stationed so deep in their own end, they had a long pay to travel to get it out… not the best recipe for a bruins team that had a guy guarding the half-wall late int he period and big strong D ferociously pinching. It seemed a common theme for the Leafs to get stuck just inside of their own line, helplessly watching the Bruins chip it to the net or back down the wall for another rally.
4) Unnecessary low probability shots late in the game: Hats off to Randy for correcting the pinching problem that was the reason for downfall early in the season, but you would think there would have been more of a tighter leash on where the Leafs were shooting from late in the third. At 4-1, there is absolutely no need to blast low percentage shots from 3 feet from the wall but time and time again, the Leafs were wiring clappers and snappers wide of the net to very hungry Bruins wingers who were thanking them for starting their breakout and next wave of attack.
5) Young team… excited too soon: The old saying “Play every shift like it’s 0-0” couldn’t have been more the motto needed late in the third last night. Young teams are usually just as quick as their fans to start dreaming of the next round but as Jagr mouthed from the bench after the Leafs scored the 4th goal “No way this is &*#@ing over boys”.
Most people won’t see it this way, but for a young team with so much ahead of the them the Leafs did accomplish a lot off the scoreboard in this series. They over-achieved and earned respect around the league for their ability to battle punch for punch with one of the strongest teams in the league, and they now have one of the bitterest pills to swallow and digest as they wind down and crank it up for the 2013-2014 season. AS U2 said in She Moves in Mysterious Ways “If you wanna kiss the sky, you gotta learn how to kneel”!