[Open Thread] Toronto Maple Leafs v. Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning roll into town for a rare Monday night game for the buds as they look to rebound from pissing away a perfectly good chance to increase their winning streak to five games with a lacklustre performance against the Bruins. I am still upset with my choice of Ghandi and his subsequent failure to rally the troops. I mean, the guy preached non-violence, of course he couldn't motivate hockey players. Well, here's a truly inspiring speech from Tony D'Amato. If this doesn't make the Leafs want to bang and crash and play with some guts then nothing will:

I don't know what to say really. Three hours till the biggest battle of our professional lives until Friday. It all starts today. Now either we heal as a team, or we're gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play by play, till we're finished. We're in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch at a time.

Now I can't do it for you. I'm too old. I look around, I see these young faces, and I think... I mean I've made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I pissed away all my money believe it or not. I chased off anyone who's ever loved me and lately I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know when you get old in life things get taken from you. That's part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life's this game of inches. And so is hockey. Because in either game, life or hockey, the margin for error is so small.

I mean... one half a stride too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don't quite reach the puck. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch.

Because we know when we add up all those inches that's gonna make the difference between winning and losing!

Between living and dying!

I'll tell you this - in any fight it's the guy who's willing to die who's gonna win that inch. And I know if I'm going to have any life anymore it's because I'm still willing to fight and die for that inch. Because that's what living is! The 6 inches in front of your face...

Now I can't make you do it. You've got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think you're gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You're gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it, you're gonna do the same for him. That's a team, gentlemen. And either we heal, now, as a team, or we will die, as individuals. That's hockey, guys. That's all it is. Now, what are you going to do?

Here are the home and road splits for some stats that might be considered either interesting or scary. The Lightning's road form falls under the latter. Why is it scary? Because they are struggling and there is no better cure for the struggles than a date with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Does it help that their three biggest offensive stars are Canadians who will love to perform on the country's biggest stage? Not at all.

Home/Road Maple Leafs Lightning
Powerplay 13.3% - 25th 15.2% - 19th
Penalty Kill 78.2% - 24th 78.2% - 24th
GF / GA (GP) 53/58 (17) 32/52 (13)
Record 6-6-5 2-10-1

No One Worthy was afraid of the recent surge in actual player of the game nominations so he stepped up Saturday night to re-emphasize his superiority over the rest of the squad. Odd how large players score when they go to the net. Remember to put your guesses for who will score take the first shot, get the first penalty, and score the first goal in the comments. I'll keep a running tally of the results in the right sidebar. We've doubled the number of participants but no one has been able to rack up many points so join in now before everyone's guessing abilities improve. Join now to get in some practice because I'm thinking of having a competition for a prize after the all-star break with wonderful prizes. No idea what they will be but they'll be awesome.

As always, the comment section is a wonderful place to vent and rage between periods or make hopeful predictions that you can tout in the future if they happen to come to pass. Each period and overtime/shootout gets their own section so just reply to the relevant section's main post and question how the team can look so good one night and so bad the next. Whatever you want to say all that you need to say it is to set up an account to comment so register and share your thoughts.

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