Toronto Maple Leafs @ Florida Panthers
07:00 PM at FLA Live Arena
Watch on: ESPN, CBC, TVAS, SN
Some news first:
Are they really on the brink of a long fall, or are they actually at the bottom of a long climb?
I don't think that's a question of pessimism vs optimism or realism vs hopium. I think it's a question of point of view.
Stand back and you see this:
It's really hard to win four games in a row in the NHL, even in the regular season. The Leafs did it three times this year. Once was the last four games of the season, which might not really count. The other two times were in late November and early December. One stretch was five games.
It's really, really hard to win four games in a row in the NHL playoffs. Vegas did it over the Jets in Round 1, but no one else has won more than three in a row yet this year in any circumstance.
Coming back to win a series down 3-0 is very difficult, and actually does require the other team to at least somewhat collude in their own demise. That's just the nature of the game.
Now stand behind the Maple Leafs as they line up for the game tonight and look at where they're looking:
They are looking up, not down, at the climb they have to make. They have to intend to make it. They have to assume they can. They have to know it's hard. Don't tell them the odds, because they don't need to know precisely the flavour of difficult that their task is. That's not for them. We can talk about that, but they don't need to know.
Just start climbing, that's the job.
Go Leafs Go!