The Leafs did something on Thursday that should turn a lot of heads within the fan base

Ben Hodgson
April 22, 2022  (8:30 PM)

At the end of last season, Leafs fans collectively stated that the 2021-22 regular season did not matter. Fans were so fed up with the lack of playoff success from the team that even a season with multiple players hitting personal bests, a possible 60-goal performance from Auston Matthews and new highs in points and wins for the team means nothing. Beating divisional rivals? Nothing. Beating the reigning Stanley Cup Champs 6-2? Nothing. But one loss sends the entire fanbase into a frenzy.

The Leafs are 11-1-1 over their last 13 games. Among those 13 games are wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. Of course, those wins are meaningless, but now one loss to the Lightning means the season is over and the team stinks! If the regular season doesn't matter why are fans freaking out?
If we learned anything from the 8–1 loss to the defending Stanley Cup winners, it's that the Leafs are not a team that will accept being pushed around. We saw push back from players up and down the roster. Not just Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford, although they certainly got involved. We saw Mark Giordano, Morgan Rielly, Colin Blackwell and even Alex Kerfoot standing up for themselves. To me, that is much more important than the score.
After the Lightning got up by a couple of goals, the Leafs began to exact revenge on the Lightning for the liberties they'd been taking the entire game. They stopped caring about the score and started defending their teammates. This kind of game in the regular season is something I've been waiting to see from the Leafs. Sure, the score was embarrassing, but more embarrassing would have been to lose the game without fighting back.
At this point, my only interest in the regular season is Jack Campbell continuing to build confidence and Auston Matthews hitting 60 goals. Outside of that, it's time to start the playoffs. If the Leafs do play Tampa, at the very least, they've already shown them that they have a backbone. Not only that, but they will have this loss to look back on and be angry about when the real hockey kicks off. So let's stop talking about the score, because it doesn't matter. What matters is that the team is mentally prepared for what's to come. The boys aren't just ready to play hockey. They're ready to go to war.
22 AVRIL   |   410 ANSWERS
The Leafs did something on Thursday that should turn a lot of heads within the fan base

Was the Leaf's pushback more encouraging to you than a win on the scoreboard?

Yes, they needed that29371.5 %
No, stupid, the score matters more4511 %
Just start the playoffs already7217.6 %
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