Boston – Toronto Maple Leafs believed they had built a strong enough base to hold another referendum for one season for their season.
Instead, it all collapsed in the familiar fashion with the loss of Game 7 in TD Garden.
Boston Bruins' 5: 1 defeat on Tuesday was even more bitterly disappointing than what they experienced here last spring, for what Leafs had done in the meantime. They signed John Tavares, traded for Jake Muzzin and saw another year of growth from a promising young core. Then they pushed the pace and stretched Boston to the border, missing two chances to close the best of seven.
Leafs believed they were ready to compete for the Stanley Cup and would instead see Bruins' tour in an open tournament. This will be repeated outside the season when Leafs General Director Kyle Dubas faces more difficult staffing and salary challenges.
The visitors failed to make a much better start of the game. The first 10 minutes had overcome the division of the ear, as both Aston Matthews and Mitch Marner had denied dangerous opportunities and actually controlled the game until the disaster occurred.
First, Noel Achiari took down the attempt to extend Travis Dermott's stride on the blue line. The puck then moved into the ambulance of Joachim Nordström, who fired through Frederic Andersen's glove at a bad angle at 14:29.
It was a defensive breakthrough by Jake Gardiner, which led to Boston's second goal. He was pushed as he drove behind the net and left the puck there for Marcus Johansson, who got out and defeated Andersen.
That left Toronto 2-0 at the end of the season where he had a 22-14 shot edge and a 9-8 lead in betting odds.
It was exactly this scenario that Mazen spoke on Monday when he said about game 7: "You have to understand that it will not be easy. They will have shifts where they will dominate us and maybe they will score a goal, maybe they will have a lead. That is how we react to this. "
The Leafs started back at 3:54 in the second period after Tyler Ennis settled Charlie Coyle from the puck and put it in the middle of the ice. Tavares rushed to her and defeated Tuukka Raska.
It struck a strong push, but Rask stopped Trevor Moore's chance.
The wind came out of Toronto's fan at the beginning of the third period of harmless gaze of Sean Kurali when Bruins fired a shot over Andersen's left elbow. That made 3-1 and did not climb from this hole.
Coal added blank net as a familiar feeling on the visitor's bench. The leaves were on this path before.