Eric Bolte - USA TODAY Sports

What we Learned: The Toronto Maple Leafs can't stop putting themselves in this position

Unfortunately, at this point, you can't not talk about it. So let's start by talking about what a single game or a single best-of-seven series is not.

It's not a way to tell which team is better and it's not a referendum on team quality, organizational philosophy, or any other greater meaning people may want to ascribe to it.

And yet. At some point, you do have to acknowledge this is a results-oriented business and the Toronto Maple Leafs — so talented on paper, so expensive, so theoretically top-heavy — haven't won in the first round, we're told, in 17 years. In much the same way all previous general managers failed with much lesser rosters, the groups compiled over the last few years by Kyle Dubas keep falling short as early as possible. And this year, no one's going to accept any excuses

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NHL Montréal Canadiens Toronto Maple Leafs NHL Cole Caufield Kasperi Kotkaniemi Mitchell Marner Auston Matthews Jake Muzzin William Nylander Carey Price Morgan Rielly Alexander Romanov Wayne Simmonds Joe Thornton
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