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The Champs are on the brink

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A 3 peat is an extremely difficult feat to complete in any sport and I think especially in the sport of hockey where the Stanley Cup playoff system is such a short series that any bounces or any hot team could easily ruin even the best of the regular season teams  journey of raising the cup go down quickly.


The Lightning find themselves down 3 games to 2 now in this 7 game series to the Leafs after being up 2-0 early in game 5 and in many ways it could have been more than that. We all know the team has an explosive offense and a very capable defense and most likely the best goalie in the league. They also have the experience in these playoff situations being that they have won the last two Stanley Cups. Their coach John Cooper after the game 5 lost is not going to sit back and just have his team come into their home arena expecting home ice is going to get it done. This team will be prepared for game 6.


As a Leafs fan, this is what scares the hell out of me. It is not the fact that they have Vasilevskiy in the net or probably the best defender in the league in Hedman or Stamkos, it is the fact I know the team will come to play and be prepared. The Leafs better have their "A" game going and must not have another period like the 1st period in game 5 or they will be headed to an airplane quickly and back to Toronto quickly.  The Leafs need to come out and pepper the net as much as possible. They need to beat the Lightning to the puck and win the face offs. Campbell may not out play Vasilevskiy, but he needs to just play a really good game and not get rattled.


I really am hoping game 6 is as exciting as game 5. 

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A bit of a sports opus coming up, if some would care to indulge me. If not, keep on a-scrollin, buddy, nothing for you here!
I AM the Resident Wall of Texter, after all. :rolleyes:

I had to take nearly a day after Game 5 ended and my teams to be done in the MLB , to get over things, try to find silver linings, and all that stuff....
Let me explain:

For a hockey/baseball  hybrid fan like myself, yesterday was truly a bad day for my supported teams. Yes, yes....it still doesn't compare to decades of Toronto futility in BOTH the sports of hockey and baseball, but for me, and my spoiled fan viewership, yes, it was bad.

As we all know, the Lightning, the defending two time champions, and the standard for the NHL that was set some seasons ago, could be gone by tomorrow night's end. The Maple Leaves® (they will STAY the Leaves® until they win their first playoff round in nearly a generation! ;) ) have done everything they are supposed to and deserve much respect for what they have accomplished all season and to this point in the playoffs.......and now, they have reached the moment of truth, as they are up, yet again, in a position to eliminate their opposition. Can they do it?

Next up, my other supported team, the Minnesota Wild, also lost to the Blues and find themselves where they could be gone by Friday night's end.

Then, onto baseball, where my Minnesota Twins were nearly no-hit (through 8 innings!) before they finally avoided being a footnote in history, almost becoming Justin Verlander' history making 4th no hitter (Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax were the only other big league pitchers to accomplish 4 no hitters in their careers).
Twins broke up the no-hitter, but were STILL shut out by Verlander and the Houston Astros (a possible playoff opponent, should they get there), 5-0.

THEN, onto my hometown Tampa Bay Rays, who were NOT so lucky, and DID get no hit by the Los Angeles Angels and rookie pitcher Reid Detmers to the tune of 12-0. Wow. Not only a no hit against them, but beat down brutally as well!
I mean...what are the odds that both my teams were being no-hit on the same freakin night that my hockey teams get pushed to the brink of elimination???
Stars have aligned for my fandom for quite some time now (I even got to see an NFL title for my football team again!), but now, as fate would have it, they are turning their backs on my sports heroes.

Or have they?

Well, the baseball season is still young, and my teams have a legit shot at the playoffs.....and both the Wild and the Lightning, though on the brink, still have life.

Which brings us full circle back to the topic at hand.
The Bolts on the Brink....Champions are now desperate.... Lightning may find themselves on the wrong side of history by being the first team in 18 years to lose to the Toronto Freakin Maple Leaves® in the 1st round.

Should Toronto win, I will give them their due. No sour grapes jabs, no excuses, no "b-b-b-but it was the ice...the refs....the zamboni driver..."
Champs get beat, they get beat by the better team that series, and maybe those Toronto boys go on to bigger and better things after getting King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, that gorilla from the Rampage movie and the entire damned Planet of the Apes off their backs!

I knew at some point, the Lightning were gonna lose to...somebody. They weren't gonna win 10 straight SC titles after all, and yea, back to back is hard, three peat is damned Herculean, and 4 straight, like the 80's Islanders did, is damned cosmic godlike!
So the ride was going to come to an end to someone, at some point.

Still, I have a great team in the Bolts to be proud of, regardless of what happens in Game 6 or 7, AND, the core of the group is still viable for a few more years, with some good young talents coming up, that could possibly still net the Bolts another Cup or two at some point before the likes of Stamkos, Hedman, Kucherov, and McDonagh have to call it a career!

And I certainly can't complain about the wonderful ride my TB Lightning have given me the last two seasons, and even those close calls where they almost had it prior to that were fun!
Add in good success by my MLB TB Rays who won an American League title two seasons ago, and continue to field a competitive team, the 2nd NFL title I got to witness in my lifetime, the Minnesota Wild bucking all odds and staying competitive despite some awful GM'ing prior to Bill Guerin and the cap hell they find themselves in, and even the Minnesota Twins, looking like they are FINALLY putting the pieces together, and well, you can see why in many ways, I can be considered a spoiled fan. :) 

Now.... the Leaves® still gotta get it done.
Maybe they get it done in short order and convincingly, and shuffle the then former champions quietly off into the night.
Or maybe, Toronto does Toronto things, and goes ahead and shats the ice as they have a penchant for, and throw away yet another series that was theirs to win!

Champs are on the Brink as the title here suggests...but Brink doesn't mean Gone.
Still gotta play a Game 6, and with any luck, a Game 7 and I will enjoy the ride for as long as it will last........... get a bit bummed if they lose, get fired up and cocky once again if they pull out the win in 7.....but always appreciate what I have to watch in spectator sports.

Go Bolts GO!


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The Leafs do have to get it done and in many ways that makes them have even more pressure than what the Lightning have on them, especially with their history.  I know if the Lightning lose they are done, but still what have they accomplished. They have been the champs for 2 years straight which is an extremely difficult feat to accomplish. 


So the Leafs have a lot of pressure on them in these next two games. If they don't get it done can you imagine the Toronto Sports media in the off season? 


As for the Wild, I think there is a much better chance for them to have an early exit mostly because they don't have the experience the Lightning have in the playoffs. 

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