Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle is hoping to build on a season in which the Leafs made a huge step forward on the ice.
The Leafs, who made it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history and played a record-setting number of games last season, are a wild card in the Eastern Conference.
They play the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Eastern Division finals on Thursday (8 p.m.
ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, RDS, TV A).
The playoffs, in their first year of operation, were a roller coaster of emotions for fans who were left frustrated and frustrated with a lack of results.
The Leafs have lost five straight playoff games dating back to last year’s Western Conference Finals series with the Anaheim Ducks.
They were eliminated in seven games in the first round of the playoffs in 2016.
They bounced back from a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Jays on Tuesday to earn a 3 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
The team is coming off an impressive 4-1 sweep of the New York Rangers in the Stanley Series.
The Bruins defeated the New Jersey Devils in the second round in five games.
Carlyle said he’s trying to build off the season and said the Leafs are playing the right way.
“We are playing with a lot of confidence and the way we are playing, we are going to get a lot out of this team.
We have a lot to be proud of,” Carlyle told reporters.
“We know how we want to play and we know how to play well.”
The Maple Leafs were the league’s worst team in terms of goal differential, but they still have a chance to win the Stanley Cups for the third time in four seasons.
They are one game behind the Los Angeles Kings, who finished with a 3.05 goals-against average in the regular season.
The Penguins, who won their second straight Stanley Cup and are playing in the third round of this year’s playoffs for the second time, have won three of their last four games and are looking to make a statement in the playoffs.
“We are going through a tough stretch of the year.
There’s no doubt in my mind we are in a lot tougher situation than we were in the previous years,” Penguins forward Kris Letang said.
“But we are still going to play our game.
We are not going to give up.”
Penguins forward Nick Bonino, who was named the NHL’s Sixth Man of the Year, said it was hard to see the playoffs slipping away in Pittsburgh.
“I feel like we have a great team.
It’s just tough to see us lose games.
That’s what it’s going to be like when we get here in the middle of the series.
We’ll get there,” Bonino said.
The Blue Jackets, who are trying to win their first Stanley Cup since 1995, were the best team in the NHL last season and are hoping to repeat their success this season.
The Blue Jackets won the Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the NHL MVP, and were one of the best teams in the league when they won the Stanley Final in 2016 and reached the Stanley Finals in 2017.
The Sabres have a long way to go to win a third straight division title.
They lost in seven playoff games in 2016 but are looking at their best team since 2010.
The Sabres are a playoff team and have had success this year.
They have been one of two teams to make the Stanley Championship Series in each of the past two years.
“They are a very talented team.
They’re really good.
They do some really good things,” Sabres forward Taylor Hall said.
Sabres forward Zach Bogosian said they’re going to have to be better in all aspects of the game.
“It’s a tough group, but you have to learn how to fight for each other and how to compete and that’s something we need to do,” he said.