Big games for Leafs, Raptors add up to special night in Toronto
|Toronto Star 23 Apr 2019 at 06:30|
The streets around Scotiabank Centre could be jammed with either ecstatic or crushed sports fans late Tuesday night, with two pivotal playoff games happening at the same time.
The Maple Leafs play Game 7 of their playoff series on the road against the Boston Bruins starting at 7 p.m. The Raptors play at home at 7 p.m. in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic.
Toronto police said they will close roads around Scotiabank Arena at 2 p.m. Road closures are expected to begin at 5 p.m. around the Rogers Centre, where the Blue Jays are also playing.
Police say road restrictions will include the closing of York St. between Lakeshore Blvd. and Front St. as well as the closure of Bremner Blvd. east of Grand Trunk Cres.
The public is encouraged to use public transit.
The action-packed night includes:
Toronto fans have had their hearts broken in Beantown twice in five years, with the Bruins ending the Leafs season in the deciding game in both 2013 and last year.
Six years ago, the Leafs led 4-1 with 12 minutes left in the third period only to cough up the lead and lose in overtime. Last year, Toronto had a 4-3 advantage going into the third period before the Bruins scored four unanswered goals to knock out the Leafs 7-4.
Toronto has a 3-1 lead in a playoff series for the first time in franchise history. If they win the series, the Raptors would play either the Philadelphia 76ers or Brooklyn Nets in the second round.
Fan favourite Kevin Pillar will be returning to Rogers Centre for the first time since the rebuilding Jays earlier this month (7 p.m., Sportsnet One).
“Thank you isn’t enough Toronto,” Pillar posted on Instagram shortly after the deal. “I gave you my heart and you gave me yours back.”
Pillar, dubbed Superman by Jays fans for his highlight-reel catches in the outfield, hit a grand-slam homer against the Padres in his first week with the new team.
It’s been a fun time to be a Toronto sports fan this month, and it culminated Friday when six of the city’s professional sports teams won — the Leafs, Raptors, Jays, Marlies, TFC and Wolfpack.
It’s a far cry from those dark days when neither the Leafs or Raptors would make the playoffs in the spring.
If both the Raptors and Leafs win, it would only be the second time that both teams have advanced to the second round in the same year. The only time that has happened was in the 2000-01 season when the Raptors beat the Knicks and the Leafs swept the Senators.