May 16, 2022 - Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in hockey hell

The Maple Leafs' Jason Spezza hangs his head.

Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Only in Canada do the Leafs fall in spring.

ICYMI: The Maple Leafs lost 2-1 to the Lightning on Saturday, their 10th straight loss in a series-clinching game and fifth straight loss in a winner-take-all game in the opening round. We've never seen anything like this.

  • The Leafs didn't blow it. In fact, they probably deserved to win the finale (70.5% chance) of a series that was shockingly even on aggregate: Toronto had 24 goals and 216 shots; Tampa had 23 and 215.
  • Wild stat: The probability of the Maple Leafs playing in five straight first-round series that went the distance, and then losing the decisive game in all five? 0.0036% (1 in 27,778 chance).

The big picture: When history keeps repeating itself in such excruciating ways, the word "cursed" gets thrown around. That built-up sense of inevitably heightens the pressure — and everybody feels it.

  • "We're getting sick and tired of feeling like this," a teary-eyed Mitch Marner, who joined the team in 2015, said after the Game 7 loss.
  • What's next: Toronto is in hockey hell: It's unclear what needs to change (the roster is stacked), but the streak has become so unbearable that they're almost obligated to make a bunch of moves anyway.


  • Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2: The home team won every game this series — the ninth time that's happened. After six straight multi-goal games, Carolina eked out a one-goal victory in front of a record crowd.
  • Oilers 2, Kings 0: Edmonton won its first playoff series since 2017 as Connor McDavid (playoff-leading 14 points) became the second player in NHL history to record six multi-point games in a series.

What's next: The second round kicks off Tuesday (Lightning-Panthers; Blues-Avalanche) and Wednesday (Rangers-Hurricanes; Oilers-Flames).

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