Toronto Maple Leafs Defeat Lightning In OT To Win Playoff Series For The First Time In 19 Years

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They’ve done it. The Leafs have finally done it.

After 19 long years without winning a playoff series, the Toronto Maple Leafs are moving on to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Before Saturday night, the last time the Leafs had won a playoff series was in 2004. Years of disappointment followed, but on Saturday night, captain John Tavares snapped the streak with an OT winner in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After that, the fans in Toronto went nuts.

That’s how frustrating it is to be a Leafs fan. That’s the reaction to winning a first-round series when you have arguably the best four-player core in the league.

The Leafs’ victory also means that it’ll be the first time in three years that the Tampa Bay Lightning have failed to make it to the Cup Finals.

While Tavares was the hero, the guy who needs to get all the accolades was goalie Ilya Samsonov. He stood on his head to weather a strong first period from the Lightning. That game could’ve been almost out of reach had he not kept the Lightning from scoring more than once.

The Leafs will now face either the Boston Bruins or the Florida Panthers in the second round. I’m not sure which the Leafs would prefer, both would be brutal.

On one hand, the Boston Bruins are the Bruins, This edition of the B’s is one of the best teams of all time. However, would you really want to take on a Florida Panthers team that just slayed a giant like that?

Either way, the Leafs are in the second round for the first time in nearly two decades. I’m sure they and their fans don’t care who they play. They’re just happy to be there for once.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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