Thursday, May 16, 2013

Original Six Playoff Hockey

It was a long time between playoff home wins for the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Boston Bruins. Their victory in game six on Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre was Toronto's first since March 31, 1959.

During regulation time on that eventful evening in '59 at Maple Leaf Gardens, both clubs scored two goals. The Toronto marksmen were Gerry Ehman and Brian Cullen. Boston forwards Jerry Toppazzini and Bronco Horvath beat Toronto goalie Johnny Bower.

In overtime, Frank Mahovlich emerged as the hero. Picking-up a deflected puck off defenceman Jim Morrison, the Leaf forward unleashed a backhand that got past Harry Lumley in the Boston cage. Mahovlich's tally came at 11:21 of extra-time.

Beyond 1959, Boston and Toronto met in three quarter-final series in 1969, 1972, and 1974. In these encounters, Toronto managed to win only one game.

This victory came on April 6, 1972, when the Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 4-3 at Boston Garden. Jimmy Harrison's winner came in overtime and was scored against Gerry Cheevers.

Other than this thrilling win, Boston dominated, outscoring Toronto 24-5 (1969), 18-10 (1972), and 17-9 (1974).

When I attended game four on May 8, 2013, the Leafs playoff home ice losing streak against Boston was still intact. No matter the outcome, it was a brilliant display of Original Six playoff hockey.

Boston vs. Toronto. Wednesday May 8, 2013. Air Canada Centre, Toronto. Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals. Final Score: Boston Bruins-4 Toronto Maple Leafs-3 (OT)

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