An exasperated Randy Carlyle vents from behind the Leafs bench during Saturday's worrisome loss to Montreal at the ACC. Carlyle will have to get his troops back playing the way they can when the Leafs meet the Bruins in Boston on Wednesday night in Game 1 of their playoff series. (Reuters(
TORONTO - Now that they’ve got the ‘who’ out of the way, 24 hours or so later than was necessary, the Maple Leafs can turn to the more pressing question of their first playoff berth in nine years.
How will they play when the best-of-seven opening round series against the Bruins begins Wednesday night in Boston?
Will they be the abrasive, hard-nosed team that made life difficult for even the toughest teams in the Eastern Conference, perhaps over-achieving to rise from 13th to fifth in one abbreviated season?
Or, will they be the tentative and inconsistent group that showed up too regularly over the past couple of weeks, one that has shown an averseness to putting together a complete 60 minutes?
And finally, if in fact they did hit their peak during the successful turnaround season, getting the most out of the young and improving roster, will they be able to summon the extra effort it invariably takes to succeed in the NHL post-season?