Five years ago to the day, the Leafs did something that nobody was expecting

Published April 16, 2022 at 2:31 PM
BY BRADLEY CELSIE
Five years ago today, the Leafs were down 1 - 0 in a playoff series against the Washington Capitals. The heavily favoured Caps finished the regular season first in the league with 118 points. Meanwhile, the Leafs scratched and clawed there way into the playoffs, clinching on the final weekend of the season.

Finishing 23 points back of the Caps, the expectations for the Leafs were low, and many Leaf fans were just happy to be back in the playoffs. And then, they gave us hope. Leafs fourth line center Brian Boyle out muscled Washington Capital star defender John Carlson off the puck and centered it to a 20-year-old Kasperi Kapanen in double overtime tying the series at one headed back to Toronto.


This goal clinched the first playoff win for the team since 2013 and reminded the City of Toronto of what playoff success can feel like. But unlike 2013, this win came with a core group of young players that could bring sustainable success. At last, the team was being built properly through the draft.


The Leafs went on to lose that series in six games, however, every game was within a goal. In fact, the Leafs/Caps tied an NHL record for most overtimes in a single series with five.

Despite the loss, Leaf fans left the series optimistic as the young Leafs had shown they can compete in a playoff series with the league's reigning Presidents Trophy winner.
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