So, it’s today. Game 7. Never thought we’d be here again. Remember when Dave Hodge said after Game 4 that this series lacked interest, was that a jinx? Or when we all (ok, me) seemed pretty confident the Leafs were going to win Game 5? Or when fans started speculating about third round opponents before the playoffs had even begun? Seems far-fetched.
Yesterday, I was trying to figure out where jinxes and superstitions come from, especially in sports, and I found a couple really interesting papers. Links below. In the first one, the authors say that people try to create the perception of a relationship between two unrelated things in order to blame something obvious and visible rather than the combination of many smaller things.
There are a lot of reasons why the Leafs lost the last two games, and might lose tonight — Katya will go into a few of those reasons in her article coming out at 8am. In the past 24 hours, I think we’ve hit on many of the reasons (power play, the first line, inconsistent 5v5 play, injuries), but it’s annoying to hear the answer is all of the above rather than one specific plan to trade Mitch Marner for Jack Eichel.
This team isn’t perfect, and this past weekend they really showed their ass. But a scapegoat isn’t going to fix that, it’s going to take the right people making the right decisions at the right time. And that includes the decisions like maybe not shoving the Thornton-sized peg in the clearly Nylander-sized power play hole. Yes, I know he has status, but man he sucks.
In the second article I read talks about people can get bogged down in the vicious cycle of feeling like nothing can go right, only focusing on the things that went wrong, and only confirming that bias as a result. Before anyone gets on me, I fully understand that this team has genuinely not had many ups in the playoffs for a significant part of their history, and it’s hard to take the good with the bad when the bad is a very obvious major storyline.
I just found it personally helpful for my own sake to try and stick to the good. I know the bad is there, it’s very obvious and it’s not going anywhere. Instead, I attempt to remember that this team can still score goals without their potentially flawed first line, that Auston Matthews had seven shots and nearly scored twice against his supposed shutdown line, and that Jack Campbell has outplayed Carey Price (he has). Even without their best day, they can still win a game.
My big hope is that the players know this and they don’t get stuck jinxing their own positivity, because if that fails we’re doomed. We as fans don’t have the ability to affect the game on the ice in an empty arena, but the players on that ice certainly do.
So remember the good, Leafs, and beat those godforsaken Habs.
GO LEAFS GO!
Various Leafs and Branches
MPP scored this beauty.
TEAM BAUER GOAL— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) May 30, 2021
Marie-Philip Poulin hits the water bottle when she goes top shelf here to take a late game lead. Eldridge with the assist here. 3-2 with under 5 to go. pic.twitter.com/yzKsmbDEqI
After being down 0-3, Mikhail Abramov and the Victoriaville Tigres made a full comeback, tied the game with less than five seconds left, and won the game in overtime. They are now up 2-1 in the QMJHL Finals, a best-of-seven series.
Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1 — TBL lead series 1-0
It was a fierce battle between the Bolts and Canes that ultimately ended in a flubbed save from Alex Nedeljkovic in the third.
Colorado Avalanche 7, Vegas Golden Knights 1 — COL lead series 1-0
This game was a blowout by the Canes that also included a very obvious suspendable hit (to most people) by Ryan Reaves. Reaves was given a game misconduct, a five-minute major penalty, and two minor roughing penalties for the hit and proceeding scrum, leading to the Avalanche getting a nine-minute power play.