This time, it wasn’t quite as obvious. But when the Leafs did their predictable fold and were bounced from the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night, the golden moment came a couple of weeks short of a full year since the Habs did the world a similar favour, coming back from a 3-to-1 deficit to win three straight against Toronto.
This year, the Canadiens won the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery the same week the Leafs broke out the golf clubs.
By rights, we ought to feel sorry for the Maple Leafs and their fans. It has been 55 years since they last won the Stanley Cup. They haven’t escaped the first round since 2004. Despite all the Hogtown hoo-haw, they consistently come up small when it matters most.
Coach Sheldon Keefe’s comment that the Leafs “got a lot of respect in the handshake line from that team” is a new low, even for an organization that excels at setting the bar low. Even the sycophantic Toronto media had a tough time swallowing that one.