Maple Leafs 2 v. Lightning 6: Hope's A Terrible Thing

 Corsi and Fenwick | EV Face Offs | H2H Time On Ice

Game Summary | Event Summary | Raw Charge Recap

I can't remember the full quotation, who said it, or where I saw it but here's the paraphrase that I remember: Forget despair, having hope is real torture. Thanks to @CruelGeography for the help!

It's not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand.

- John Cleese as Brian Stimpson in Clockwise

There are a lot of famous quotations that encapsulate life as a Maple Leafs fan but I think that might be the best to wrap up the Brian Burke tenure. This entire post-All-Star Game portion of the season has been screwing with Leafs fans' minds. The team was as good as dead and buried and then James Reimer stepped in and suddenly there was hope. It was still the longest of long shots but with Optimus Reim anything was possible. What a dangerous brew:

After a terrific 9-4-2 record with a 2.13 goals-against average and .934 save percentage to start his career, Reimer’s statistics are well down in his past 10 starts, with a 3.59 goals against, .895 save percentage and only four wins.

That's not to pass judgment on Reimer. There are a lot of factors at play for his dipping stats from the Leafs' much tougher schedule, being a rookie, and two really bad nights against Tampa Bay and Chicago. It was a tough night for the kid no doubt. How much of it had to do with Reimer's play is tough to gauge when the Maple Leafs were just so poor tonight. Keith Aulie is probably the only guy that can leave this game with any kind of credit. He was a +1 alongside Dion Phaneuf who was also pretty good as they faced the Stamkos-St. Louis axis of feasting on powerplays and did well until the game was lost.

When Nikolai Kulemin blocked Victor Hedman's point shot and raced away before firing a wrist shot past Dwayne Roloson it looked like the Leafs had a chance at salvaging something from the game. The team needed to finish the period down one. Maybe another miracle could have been set in motion during the second intermission. Unfortunately, some poor marking ensured that it was not to be. 

The toughest part about being a Leafs fan is knowing that the worst will come to pass while at the same time trying to not tempt fate by giving your thoughts life by putting pen to paper, saying them out loud, or sending out tweets just before game time:

 Dgb_is_evil_medium

Down Goes Brown earned his "Judas Mittenstringer" title with that gem as Mattias Ritola potted not one but two goals tonight. What had he done before tonight?

GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2010 - Mattias Ritola 28 2 4 6 -7 11 0 0 1 36

Jesus wept. Luckily, the Helper to my Hamburger Godd Till helped provide some levity and inspiration with his Wintario-like Google skills and wrestling knowledge:

Tampa absolutely sucks. No jobs unless you're a douchebag who's a DJ or sells insurance to snowbirds, the only seasons are really hot and not so hot, and half the billboards are in Spanish.

- Tampa Hate, Amplicate

There once was a time when Tampa was a guaranteed two points for the boys in blue. I'm not quite sure how to put into words how I feel about the change in fortunes but luckily Godd "Craig Janney" Till has come through once more:

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