The Boston Bruins are starting to look unstoppable. After shutting down the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night, they hold a 2-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup final heading into Game 4 at home tonight. They’re two wins away from a championship that would cap off one of the most impressive playoff runs in recent history.
A quick recap: In the first round, the Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs. Since then, they’ve found themselves facing the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and now the Blackhawks. Or, to put those matchups in some perspective: last year’s top seed in the East, this year’s top seed in the East, and this year’s top seed overall.
Heading into tonight’s action, here’s how those teams have fared against Boston:
Without putting too fine a point on it, those numbers don’t make any sense. How could the Bruins be rolling over three of the best teams in the NHL so easily, when they needed a historic Game 7 comeback just to survive against a very average Toronto team?
Or, to rephrase the question in a more intriguing way: Is it possible that the Leafs knew something that everyone else has missed?
The good news is that, as a Maple Leafs fan, I watched that first-round series closely. The bad news is that, as a Maple Leafs fan, my therapist has ordered me never to discuss it again. So if he asks, the next few thousand words never happened.
I floated a version of the question — What the hell happened in that Leafs series? — on Twitter a few nights ago. Here are some of the most common theories I got back in response, and my thoughts on whether there could be some truth to them.