The Toronto Maple Leafs dropped a real heart-breaker last night in Pittsburgh. Leading 4-1 in the third period, they surrendered three unanswered goals, including one with seven seconds remaining, then lost to the Penguins in a shootout.
Tonight the same two teams meet in Toronto, where everyone’s wondering how the home team will respond. The Leafs, after all, haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004 and are right on the bubble this season. If last night’s debacle throws them into a tailspin, they might not be able to recover.
For the Toronto Star, it’s reminiscent of 1972 when Team Canada blew Game 5 in Moscow and needed to win the final three games of the Summit Series against the Soviet Union.
Indeed, the newspaper recalls four “cases where teams bounced back after devastating losses” in hopes the Leafs will find some inspiration tonight.
One was the aforementioned 1972 Summit Series.
Another was the 1975 World Series when the Cincinnati Reds pulled themselves together to win Game 7 after Carlton Fisk’s walk-off homer won Game 6 for the Red Sox.
The two others involved the Blue Jays – the first during the 1992 World Series when Toronto lost Game 5 at home to the Braves with a chance to clinch, only to bounce back and win Game 6 in Atlanta.
The second occurred last July when the Jays blew a game versus the Indians then won the final three games of four-game set. (Then finished the season 81-81, not even close to making the playoffs.)
In conclusion, the Leafs have finally driven Toronto insane.