Jake McCabe & Maple Leafs using Bruins past failures as motivation ahead of Game 5

Toronto is finding motivation from the Bruins collapse in the playoffs one year ago ahead of tonight's Game 5 at the TD Garden.
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Three
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Three / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

Entering Game 5 of their first-round 2023 Stanley Cup Playoff series with the Florida Panthers, the Boston Bruins held a 3-1 series lead. After a historic 2022-23 regular season that saw Boston set the NHL record for wins and points in a season, they suffered a historic postseason collapse when they dropped the final three games of the series, two in overtime, to have their season come to a stunning end with a playoff series victory.

Fast forward one year later and the Bruins are in that same situation again, this time against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ironically, the series has gone the same way with Boston winning the first game, losing the second, and winning two on the road. Now with three chances to close out their Atlantic Division rivals, it’s not going to be easy, but it appears that the Maple Leafs are getting motivation from Boston’s past failure.

Jake McCabe says Toronto has talked about the 2023 playoff meltdown by Boston

Following Tuesday morning’s skate at the TD Garden, Toronto defenseman Jake McCabe spoke with the media and it seems that the Maple Leafs are using the Bruins' past postseason failure from a year ago as motivation to come back in the series.

A couple of things here. Tyler Bertuzzi was in Boston’s locker room last spring when the collapse against Florida happened and is now in Toronto’s room, which is good first-hand knowledge. Second, nothing against the Panthers who appeared to be peaking at the right time, but Toronto has a lot more offensive firepower than Florida did last season. Yes, defense and goaltending have been an issue for the Maple Leafs in this series, but Sergei Bobrovsky played well enough to give his team a chance last season.

There is no debating whether or not last season’s playoff collapse should be fresh in the Bruins' minds for the players that were there as they have to be thinking, “Oh no, not again.’’ They had Florida down and looked like out, but they let them open the door and it gave them a second life, something the Maple Leafs want to repeat over the next five days.