The pressure cooker is turned up to high for the players heading into the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Game 7 showdown with the Montreal Canadiens.
Leafs Nation and anyone covering hockey is already freaking out and the game hasn’t even been played yet. The Toronto Maple Leafs have allowed the Montreal Canadiens to come back into the series after taking a 3-1 series lead following Game 4.
Monday night should be a wild ride, not for the faint of heart.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were soundly outplayed in a Game 6 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday as their top players were a no-show.
It has been 17 years since the Maple Leafs won a playoff series and a loss on Monday night will have fans somewhere between furious and shopping for Seattle Kraken apparel.
Everyone in the organization will be feeling the stress for Game 7 but some likely have more at stake than others. Auston Matthews believes the team will get it together Monday.
"“I think we’ve done a lot of really good things,” said Matthews, to reporters, “whether it was gaining momentum for our team when we’ve lost it or just creating chances and creating havoc. Obviously, we’d like to see those pucks go in, but we’re just going to keep shooting and keep fighting and keep working to help the team win.”"
Who will (or should) be feeling the most pressure Monday? I’m glad you asked. Here is a list of Leafs players that will be under the most heat.
“Good luck guys, I’m just watching the game”
(Pressure Rating: None)
Martin Marincin, Dennis Malgin, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, David Rittich, Joseph Woll and any Non-Roster player like Timothy Liljegren and Nicholas Robertson.
There is not much to say about any of these players. Obviously they are invested in the success of the team and a rash of injuries deeper in the playoffs could lead to them finding their way onto the ice at some point.
For tonight, they do not have to worry about their own performance.
Some jitters but unlikely to see the ice based on the series so far
(Pressure Rating: 🔥)
Frederik Andersen, Ben Hutton, Riley Nash, Adam Brooks
If Andersen were starting the game, he would have five fire emojis beside him based on his tenure with the team and his, uh, lacking playoff performances. Barring injury to starter Jack Campbell, he will be a spectator on Monday.
Nash and Brooks have drawn into this series but have been largely ineffective. Even if they play in Game 7 nobody will be expecting them to catapult the Maple Leafs.
Hutton has an outside chance of actually playing in the contest with Jake Muzzin ruled out if Head Coach Sheldon Keefe wants more physicality than Rasmus Sandin or Travis Dermott have brought so far.