Leafs fall short again, as Tampa comes out on top in Game 7
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Saturday, May 14, 2022
Final Score: 2-1
The curse is real.
It has to be, right?
There is seemingly no other explanation as the Toronto Maple Leafs once again fell short in their Game 7 efforts, to end their Stanley Cup hopes after just the first round. The buds put up a valiant effort against the back-to-back champs, but were unable to complete the job as Tampa secured a 2-1 victory and with it, a ticket to the second round.
This was a Game 7 battle through and through as both teams went toe-to-toe throughout the opening frame, with nothing coming to fruition for either. That was until the final two minutes of the first when Ross Colton fired one on Jack Campbell, with the rebound ricocheting awkwardly out for an easy tap-in for Nick Paul. They would head into the intermission with a Tampa lead.
The second period was much of the same with many close calls, before John Tavares sent Scotiabank Arena into a frenzy, as he appeared to tie it up with a rip from the slot past Andrei Vasilevskiy. Unfortunately, the parade planning was short-lived, as Justin Holl was called for interference on the play, overturning the goal and sending Toronto onto the PK.
The Leafs would get some vindication though as just minutes later Morgan Rielly would bury the equalizer off assists from Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. But once again, the party in Toronto was quickly shut down as Paul grabbed his second of the night with just five to go in the second period to give Tampa the 2-1 lead.
The third period was one of desperation for a Leafs team looking to secure their first second-round appearance since 2004, but despite the 17-shot frame, it was another rerun episode for the boys in blue and their fans as time expired on the clock and with it, their hopes for a deep playoff run.
The Bolts advance to the second round for the third straight year, as the loss moves Toronto to 0-10 in elimination games.
18:24 - TB Nick Paul (1) 1-0
13:25 - TOR Morgan Rielly (3) 1-1
16:32 - TB Nick Paul (2) 2-1