The Washington Capitals have eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games to move on to the Division Finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. I, along with Leafs Nation, had mixed feelings about that loss, but you have to take a step back and fully process the magnitude of this event.
Going into the season, no one, not even Mike Babcock, or Lou Lamoriello, had any clue that this season would be such a success. In less than twelve months, they went from a dead-last team, to a playoff contending one. Auston Matthews and Frederik Andersen proved to be franchise players, and all the rookies showed off their talent and skill. The Leafs competed throughout the entire season and even landed a highly contested wild card spot. This team proved the whole league wrong.
Going into this series, everybody expected an easy win for Washington. This series turned out to be the tightest in the playoffs, with all the games either won or lost by a single goal. Auston Matthews scored the most goals by a single player, and Frederik Andersen got red-hot in the final two games. Again, this team leaped over everyone else’s expectations and proved them all wrong.
There should be no sadness or regret in Leafs Nation today. The Leafs gave the Caps a run for their money and revived some much-needed optimism that the fans have been craving for for a long time. And remember, this is year two of the rebuild. It can only go up from here.
The Leafs are actually, legitimately, good again. Enjoy it.
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