To end my last column, I said that the blown lead only coming in Game 3 provided the Leafs with an opportunity to step up and prove to us and themselves that this team was different.
With Game 7 against Boston in 2013, it was over for the Leafs, that was it. They didn’t get that second opportunity to prove themselves until four months later with an entirely different team.
The difference is that it isn’t over for this Leafs team. They have a chance tonight, and if they play it well, they have another one on Sunday. This is where they prove to themselves and to everybody that they have what it takes.
They have an opportunity with their backs against the wall to step up, and overcome this heartbreak. Or, they’ll sit back, let the Blue Jackets beat them in Game 4, and it’s over.
The choice is theirs.
And for a while, it looked like it was the latter. While the Leafs weren’t getting dominated in the game as far as possession goes (it was pretty even in the first, and the Leafs dominated the second, even when you factor in score effects). But even then, there was just something off about the team for the first 55 minutes of the game, especially Morgan Rielly’s blunder on the 3-0 goal.
But then something happened. Something that we’ve never seen from this team.
Because so far in this…