The Leafs played a poor game in Boston and lost Game 1 by a score of 4-1.
Yes, every nightmare scenario came true. The Leafs were overwhelmed. James Reimer was beaten to his glove side.
Jinkies. Must be the apocalypse.
Let me tell you a story.
When my Dad read my first published story he was dumbstruck with fear. He thought I must have plagiarized it.
Two things. First, thanks Dad.
Second, what we care about deeply is often the subject of our worst, most irrational fears.
I think you see where I am going with this.
Game 1 was so unsettling because the real issue here isn’t one bad game but the reflexive fear of failure.
It is human nature to reflexively believe what frightens us most. Little kids peek under their beds. Big people think the worst without so much as a second look.
After one game it suddenly seems impossible to believe that a team that spent eight years out of the playoffs can quickly catch up to the league’s elite. Call it battered fan syndrome.
This is natural as all get out. It just isn’t necessarily true.
I know a team that endured seven years out of the playoffs, lost in the first round for two seasons and then won the Stanley Cup. That would be last year’s Los Angeles Kings.
I know another that won two playoff rounds in the 10 years prior to their Cup title. That would be the 2011 winners, Boston.
One year after their first playoff appearance in six years the Chicago Blackhawks won the 2010 Stanley Cup tournament.
Things change pretty quickly in this game. Just look at last year’s playoffs.
Boston won the first game of their first-round series with Washington last year. They lost in seven games.
San Jose beat St. Louis in Game 1 of their series. The Blues won the next four. Philadelphia beat New Jersey in the opener of their playoff. The Devils won in five. The same Devils lost their opener to New York 3-0 and won the series in six.
It happens every year. You never really know your team until they play two playoff games at home. Boston held serve in Game 1.