MAPLE LEAFS (17-21-9)
7:00 pm (SportsNet)
These are getting harder and harder to write. Of course I am tasked to write a game day report the day after our Maple Leafs were embarrassed in Sunrise, Florida. The Florida Panthers are currently atop of the Atlantic division moving up to 63 points after last night’s 5-1 thumping of the Maple Leafs. At the end of the first, things were looking good leading 1-0 after a snazzy Kadri dangle finding the back of the net. The 2nd and 3rd are periods I want to forget.
Tonight we are facing the Tampa Bay Lightning, last years Stanley Cup finalists. The Lightning are coming into tonight’s game following a 5-2 thumping by the Florida Panthers as well. If memory serves me correctly the Panthers beat last years Stanley Cup Champions (Blackhawks) in the game before. I hate to say it, but these Panthers are for real. With the right mixture of veterans and young talent I honestly feel they may travel pretty deep into the playoffs.
Seems like Stamkos signing in Toronto histeria has calmed slightly, but it is still out there. Tampa fans seem to be pissed, but I really don’t care.
Losses are sure to pile up since point leader, Leo Komarov, has seemed to slow down in the scoring department. Or second highest point producer, JVR, has been placed on injured reserve and isn’t set to return anytime soon.
ELSEWHERE: The Canadiens seem to be free falling without a parachute, and I am enjoying it. Not a bone in my body feels sorry for them.
I think I finally understand what Babcock meant by “PAIN.” I know this team needs to draft well over the next couple years, I understand the concept of building from within. I think the “PAIN” is in reference to the fans out there who, knowing all this, still get mad over losses. Fans who cheer for every win and cheer for every point. Fans who still jump off the couch when their team scores a goal. The “PAIN” is that inner turmoil you feel when your brain knows this is for the greater good, yet your heart bleeds with this team when you see the disappointment in their eyes skating off the ice. The PAIN, the turmoil, whatever the word. I am feeling it.
If anything, please do me a favour. 1-in-5 people deal with some sort of mental illness, diagnosed or not. That being said, there is a very good chance that you, the reader, knows someone out there dealing with something. Be it a loved one or just an acquaintance, send them some love right now. Call them, text them, email them or leave them a voice mail. Say something only you know will make them smile. Trust me, they need it.
Oh yeah, go Leafs go, the turmoil burns deep within this soul.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Nazem Kadri – Leo Komarov – Michael Grabner
Shawn Matthias – Tyler Bozak – PA Parenteau
Joffrey Lupul – Peter Holland – Nick Spaling
Daniel Winnik – Byron Froese – Brad Boyes
Matt Hunwick – Morgan Rielly
Jake Gardiner – Dion Phaneuf
Frank Corrado – Roman Polak
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Ondrej Palat – Vladislav Namestnikov – Steven Stamkos
Alex Killorn – Tyler Johnson – Nikita Kucherov
J.T. Brown – Valtteri Filppula – Ryan Callahan
Cedric Paquette – Brian Boyle – Jonathan Marchessault
Victor Hedman – Anton Stralman
Jason Garrison – Braydon Coburn
Nikita Nesterov – Andrej Sustr
Gdiff (5v5) — -10
Gdiff (All) — -18
CF% (5v5) — 49.8
PP% — 15.9
PK% — 80.1
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Gdiff (5v5) — +11
Gdiff (All) — +13
CF% (5v5) — 52.2
PP% — 18.2
PK% — 80.7