The Maple Leafs, the Playoffs and their search for the “killer instinct”

Torontonians’ stumbles in the playoffs are well known. You don’t need to trace the thread of his last five first-round appearances to prove it. The painful memory of his elimination in seven games at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens last summer suffices as an example, some will say. Toronto blew three chances to win the series before finally giving up.

Last year we had several occasions. We didn’t do the job. We knowrecognized veteran Jason Spezza Wednesday at the Maple Leafs’ training complex.

Now we have two chances to win our series. [contre Tampa], but most importantly, we will have to play with a sense of urgency, the same as we had in the last game and that allowed us to come back from behind. This feeling must follow us to Tampa.

This sense of urgency, also called murderous instinct by the management of the Toronto team, it has often been pointed out that it is what the previous editions of the Maple Leafs lacked and that explained their inability to win a series.

As proof, in the past four years, the Maple Leafs have had seven chances to finish a series. Each time, they conceded defeat, and four times in the final matches.

We have to learn from our mistakes. That’s what we try to do as a band here, but we’re also a different band. [de l’an dernier]Spezza recalled. The guys are at different points in their careers. They have matured. We also have new players. So yes, the players who were there learned lessons, but we’re also a new version of the Toronto Maple Leafs and we’re trying to move on.

The Torontonians showed character in Game 5 of their series against the Lightning. Trailing 0-2, they scored three goals and then added another after Tampa Bay tied the game 3-3 for an encouraging win.

We have great, die-hard fans and I’m sure it would mean a lot to them if we win this series and trust us, we want to win too and we’ll do everything in our power to make it possible.said Michael Bunting.

I think we have to start well and not try to come back from some goals yet. I think we did a great job yesterday (Tuesday), but we will need that same sense of urgency, play it simple and stick to our game plan. [pour gagner] in tampahe added.

To become the best, the Maple Leafs will obviously have to beat the best, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, on Thursday, and on their ice. It won’t be an easy feat, especially since the Lightning haven’t suffered back-to-back playoff losses since the spring of 2019.

We believe that we have the right group of players and that everything good happens to us to be confident and play very well. That doesn’t make the challenge any easier. We know what to expect going to Tampahead coach Sheldon Keefe said.

It was a real challenge for us to finish the playoffs, but we believe our team worked all season to get there and had the right attitude to face this type of challenge. »

a quote from Sheldon Keefe, head coach of the Maple Leafs

Last night’s game, in terms of perseverance, raising your level of play in the big moments and not letting yourself down, I think it set the stage for us to have the confidence to finish the job.

Game 6 of the series between the Maple Leafs and the Lightning will take place at 7:30 pm at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

In the event of a setback in Toronto, a Game 7 between the two teams will take place on Saturday in Toronto.

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