What to Watch Today

Islanders @ Florida - noon, SN, TVAS, NBCSN, NHL.TV, FS-F, MSG+
Nashville @ Arizona - 2:30 PM, SN360, NHLN, NHL.TV, FS-A, FS-TN
Pittsburgh @ Montréal - 4 PM, SN, TVAS, NBCSN, NHL.TV, ATTSN-PT
Edmonton @ Chicago - 6:45 PM, SN, NBCSN, NHL.TV, NBCSCH
Toronto @ Columbus - 8 PM, HNIC (CBC), TVAS, NHLN, FS-O
Vancouver @ Minnesota - 10:45 PM, SN, NBCSN, NHL.TV, FS-N

The Islanders, Arizona, Montréal, Chicago, Vancouver and Columbus can all put their series away.

Last night’s recap:

Maple Leafs blow three goal lead, face elimination tomorrow

Recap: Wild play poor, uninspired hockey in ugly Game 3 loss - Hockey Wilderness
Just awful.

Philadelphia Flyers control Washington Capitals in 3-1 win to improve round-robin standing - Broad Street Hockey
Scott Laughton’s two goals and Brian Elliott’s stellar netminding lead Flyers to third-straight win inside the bubble —and second inside the round-robin.

Golden Knights defeat Blues in Cup Qualifiers round-robin
The most up-to-date breaking hockey news from the official source including interviews, rumors, statistics and schedules.

Phase 2 of Draft Lottery on Monday, to be broadcast on NBCSN, NHL Network
The most up-to-date breaking hockey news from the official source including interviews, rumors, statistics and schedules.

We’ll have the preview up later today.

So, what to say about that game? It was in the bag. 94% probability of a win, according to Moneypuck, and then it all blew up in everyone’s face. Full marks to Columbus who did the thing they’re least good at — scoring goals — four times in a row, to take a lead in the series.

But what of the Leafs? How many times this year were there horrible, horrible games, and then they “learned their lesson” and came back and won it the next time? How many times did they play fine for two periods, but really cock it up in one of them? How many times must we watch this same issue? The Jekyll and Hyde team.

And no one has ever convincingly diagnosed this, for all there’s been heaps of words spread around about it. It’s the coach, or the wrong leaders, or not enough leaders or no Patrick Marleau, or too many young guys or too much video games or too much money or too much concern about fashion or whatever the hell people want to lay it on. Injuries! The refs!

I don’t know. I got nothing. But there was some stuff in that third period that cannot happen in a playoff game, and some of that stuff done was done by the most important players on the team. When you have the game in the bag... don’t open the bag. And if that lesson didn’t get learned last year when the Leafs did not put the game away in Game 6 vs Boston when they had great goaltending and a killer game from Morgan Rielly, when will it?

A lot gets said about heart and grit and wanting it and most of that must makes me roll my eyes. But this team, this season, and largely the same people last season, do not seem to know how to put a game away, to close it out, to play it to the end.

That wasn’t bad goalie-ing or bad bounces, or a team that had been pouring on offence finally getting the catch-up goals. Not at all. That was a game the Leafs gave away. On a silver platter with a bow on top, worse than Game 6 vs Boston, the game Kyle Dubas says he thinks was the most meaningful game of the playoffs last year.

There’s a hokey self-help book saying: Don’t look to fix blame, look to fix the problem. And as soon as Dubas figures out what the hell that problem is, he needs to fix it.

In the meantime, remember, no commenter at PPP played in that game last night, and no one’s prior opinions were dressed and on the ice in the third period either. Be good to each other, because we all watched our team lose last night.