For the Toronto Maple Leafs, history has an uncanny way of repeating itself. In recent years, the team has consistently taken a 2-1 lead in the first round of the playoffs, only to be eliminated before advancing further. As the Leafs now hold a 2-1 lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2023 playoffs, fans are left wondering if this year will be different.
Looking back at the Leafs’ playoff history, the pattern is unmistakable. In 2019, they took a 2-1 lead over Boston but were knocked out in the first round. The same happened in 2021 against Montreal and in 2022 against Tampa. Now, as they face Tampa once again, the Leafs must defy the odds and break this seemingly unshakable curse.
The series has been an intense roller coaster so far, with the Lightning winning Game 1 with a 7-3 score, followed by the Leafs’ 7-2 victory in Game 2, and a nail-biting 4-3 overtime win for the Leafs in Game 3. The Lightning’s roster has been plagued by injuries, which could be a crucial factor in the outcome of the series.
In a notable lineup change, the Leafs are 2-0 since Michael Bunting’s suspension, with Matthew Knies stepping in as his replacement and earning his first point. The new boy might be the answer to breaking the curse, but the Leafs haven’t been able to get passed the first round in almost 2 decades.
As the series continues, all eyes will be on the Toronto Maple Leafs as they fight to rewrite their playoff history and advance beyond the first round. Will 2023 be the year they finally conquer their demons and make a deep playoff run?