Drake, Will Arnett Celebrate Toronto Maple Leafs’ (Long-Awaited) Postseason Triumph
The curse is over.
John Tavares scored in overtime Saturday, as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1, to advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs for the first time in 19 years.
Tavares’ game-winner — which came off his only shot of the night — gave the Leafs their first post-season series win since 2004, and ended the longest-active drought for an NHL team without a playoff series triumph.
It took six games for the Leafs to finish off the Lightning, who had stormed back from a 3-1 series deficit Thursday to pull within a game of tying it up. But a determined Toronto squad battled it out until the end, when the team captain became the new playoff hero.
While the game was held in Tampa Bay, thousands of Leafs fans gathered outside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto to watch the game unfold on a massive outdoor screen. The tense crowd immediately broke into cheers when the overtime winner went in. The hashtag #TheyDidIt also trended on Twitter, with fans expressing their relief — and elation — that Toronto had finally ended their string of consecutive playoff losses.
Toronto native Drake reposted footage from the so-called “Leafs Square” on his Instagram story, with the “6 God” adding a watery eyes emoji and the caption: “The Leafs are through to the second round.”
Longtime (and long-suffering) Leafs fan Will Arnett, took to Twitter, meantime, to let out his emotions. The actor has been a vocal supporter of the team for years, and even narrated the Amazon docu-series All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs in 2021.
Fellow Leafs fans and Ontario natives the Weeknd and Justin Bieber have not yet commented on the Leafs’ win on social media, but are probably celebrating privately.
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The Leafs last advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2004, when they beat the Ottawa Senators. Toronto would eventually lose to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern conference semifinals.
The Leafs will face either the Boston Bruins or the Florida Panthers in the next round, which is set to begin later this week. See our complete streaming guide to the NHL playoffs here.