Tonight's the night for Toronto sports
Leafs' Game 7 headlines a jam-packed sked for T.O. fans
We could all use a diversion right now, so let's talk about the extraordinary Wednesday on tap for Toronto sports fans.
It's hard to imagine a bigger night for any sports town. The marquee attraction is Game 7 of the suddenly thrilling Leafs-Bruins series, but there's also a pivotal Raptors playoff contest and the deciding leg of Toronto FC's Champions League final matchup. Throw in an enticing early season baseball showdown between the Blue Jays and Red Sox, even a Marlies playoff game, and, well, there's a lot going on.
With three of its teams in action, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is providing for all fans at its outdoor viewing party.
With the Raptors playing inside the Air Canada Centre, their game against Washington will be on the main screen outside the arena. Screens will be set up in the northwest section of the square to carry the Maple Leafs game, while another screen will show TFC try to come back against Chivas.
Fans attending the tailgate party should expect increased security, including road closures around Air Canada Centre, after Monday's deadly van attack in north Toronto. Major roads near the arena were closed for Monday night's Game 6 between the Leafs and Bruins, and police have told fans via Twitter to expect similar measures on Wednesday.
Here's a quick itinerary to guide you through this wild Wednesday night, which includes two games taking place right in T.O.
7 p.m. ET — Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors
Game 5 of the first-round NBA playoff matchup is suddenly crucial after Toronto, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, squandered a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series by dropping a pair of games in Washington. The Raptors will need to bring Wizards stars Bradley Beal and John Wall back down to earth after they each scored 28 points in Game 3, and combined for 58 in Game 4.
7 p.m. ET — Toronto Marlies at Utica Comets
This game will be, at best, a footnote for even the most hardcore hockey fan, but still… Toronto's "other" pro hockey team looks to complete a sweep of its best-of-five first-round AHL playoff series.
7 p.m. ET — Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
The best team in baseball (Boston is off to a scorching 17-5 start) takes on a Blue Jays squad that's been a pleasant early-season surprise at 14-8, including a walk-off win over the Red Sox on Tuesday night. Toronto fan favourite Aaron Sanchez is expected to take the mound against Boston's Eduardo Rodriguez, who has fanned 20 hitters in less than 16 innings pitched.
7:30 p.m. ET — Toronto Maple Leafs at Boston Bruins
Who would have thought it would come to this? The Leafs looked ready to fold as recently as last Thursday night, when a 3-1 defeat put them down by the same margin in this first-round NHL playoff series. But Toronto stole Game 5 in Boston despite being badly outshot and outchanced, then squared the series with a 3-1 win back home on Monday night. The Leafs famously rallied from a 3-1 series deficit against the Bruins in 2013, only to blow a 4-1 lead in the third period of Game 7 and lose in overtime. Only a few players remain from that Toronto team, but this is the franchise's shot at both redemption and its first post-season series victory in 14 years.
9:30 p.m. ET — Toronto FC at Chivas Guadalajara
The reigning MLS champs are in a tough spot against their Mexican-league foes as they head into the second and final leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final. Toronto dropped the opener 2-1 at home last week, putting the Reds behind by one in this aggregate-goals contest while giving Chivas the edge in away goals — the deciding factor in the event of a tie in the two-match total score. If it's still even after that, a penalty shootout decides it. The winner goes on to represent the region at the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
With files from The Canadian Press