Round 2, Game 1: Game Day Primer

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Just typing that header feels weird.

“Round 2”

Well, would ya look at that.

With the overtime heroics of team captain, John Tavares, the Leafs finally broke through into the 2nd round. It’s been a long time coming and, for a change, the “savior” that was set to come in late in the season actually had a part in helping the team win. Matthew Knies worked the wall well before the Tavares goal and earned himself the primary assist on the play. The kid has been good and I’m giving him full marks for his performance thus far.

Tonight we’ll see two teams that are full of offense.

The Panthers have allowed 3.86GA/GP, worst among teams that are dressing for the 2nd round. However, Toronto is 2nd in that category, with 3.50GA/GP, so we know that neither team is adept at keeping the puck out of their own net. As far as scoring goes, the Leafs scored 3.83G/GP in the first round, with Florida coming in at 3.71G/GP, good for 2nd and 4th amongh the remaining teams, respectively.

On paper we should prepare ourselves for a lot 6-4 games, with the “last save” being the most important one. I’d say that I’m not worried, as Ilya Samsonov was solid in the 1st round, while Sergei Bobrovsky simply got the Panthers through, but we all know that the Leafs can make a bad goalie look good and an average goalie look great. If you allowed me to look a few weeks into the future, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we were all talking about how Bobrovsky stole the series from the Leafs, only to fold in the 3rd round. It would be the Leafy result, anyway.

The question is, how Leafy are these Leafs right now? They came back from 4-1 with 10 minutes left in a game, only to win in overtime. They had a 3-1 lead in the series and didn’t blow it. Matthew Knies has come as advertised and has helped the team win. The goaltending has been good in key moments. The team is pushing back physically, as we even saw Auston Matthews confront Pat Maroon after Maroon laid a dirty hit on veteran defender, Mark Giordano. The players obtained at the deadline are contributing, adding elements that were sorely missed in years past. The coach made a change to the lineup for Game 6(!!). Even the GM is chirping the opposing fans from the press box.

Nothing about any of those things is Leafy.

Maybe they’re building up to the “Ultimate Leafy” experience for us all? Which would be…..??? Going all the way to the Finals, building a 3-0 series lead and then losing 4 straight?

This, folks, is the mindset of a Leaf fan. I can’t even enjoy a series win without thinking the worst of this team.