Maple Leafs can change narrative with win in Game 7 against Bruins

Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe wouldn’t predict if that would happen, but he believes his team will play with desperation. After all, he’s had plenty of practice doing just that.

“In my mind, we just played two Game 7s,” Keefe said, referring to Toronto’s decisive wins in Games 5 and 6.

Note: They won these games without center Auston Matthews and his 69 regular season goals in the lineup. And if his undisclosed illness persists, they may have to start again.

Matthews lasted about four minutes during Toronto’s morning skate before Tuesday’s Game 5 before leaving the ice and deciding he wasn’t allowed. He skated alone at the Maple Leafs practice rink on Wednesday and was working at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday morning, but did not play.

Report William Nylander.

If the Maple Leafs want to succeed, especially if Matthews can’t go again, they need their best players to step up.

Like captain John Tavares did in Game 5, when his brutal cut into the Bruins net resulted in an overtime goal by Matthew Knies in Toronto’s 2-1 win.

And like Nylander did in Game 6.

The speedy winger, who missed the first three games of the series due to an undisclosed illness, scored both of Toronto’s goals and was dynamic throughout, shaking off the rust that seemed to linger in both previous releases.

Although Nylander hasn’t scored since March 26, he tends to succeed in big moments in the playoffs, having now accumulated seven goals in playoff games in his career.

“It was good to get on the board scoring two goals, that’s for sure,” Nylander said. “But I think the team effort, the way we fought and competed for the entire 60 minutes, well, that was amazing for us too.”

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