The Toronto Maple Leafs — finally, mercifully — have exorcised some of their playoff demons.
The perennially cursed, perennially disappointing Leafs finally got the job done in the first round of the playoffs, taking the series 4-2 over the Tampa Bay Lightning for their first appearance in the second round of the NHL postseason since 2004.
It wasn’t a series without nerves, with Toronto winning three separate overtime games — all on the road — to clinch the victory.
But once John Tavares’ overtime winner crossed the line in last night’s extra frame, the celebration was on in the streets of Toronto.
Downtown Toronto reacts to Leafs first playoff series win in 19 years pic.twitter.com/fK9UiWxfZm
— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) April 30, 2023
And while other fanbases might jeer and laugh at Toronto for celebrating just one step in the road a little too hard, the most diehard of Leafs fans won’t soon forget all the heartbreaking losses over the last two decades.
Absolute madness in downtown Toronto #leafs. pic.twitter.com/TTYAKJ1sT0
— Lindsay Dunn (@LindsayDunnTV) April 30, 2023
Whether it was at Yonge-Dundas Square, Maple Leaf Square, or anywhere else in the city, Leafs fans took to the streets of downtown Toronto to celebrate the win.
Fireworks are going off at York and Bremner after the Maple Leafs eliminate the Lightning pic.twitter.com/YoxYlrBzGr
— Nick Barden (@nickbarden) April 30, 2023
Toronto awaits the winner of the Boston Bruins — Florida Panthers series, which will be settled on Sunday evening.
People are waiting for the 4way cross to go on and filling Yonge and Dundas. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/qTkUhZtYXr
— Jason O’Young (@jasonoyoung) April 30, 2023
Dates and times have not yet been announced but the Leafs will begin their second round series sometimes this week.