The Maple Leafs sent a clear message to the rest of the NHL with their 5-0 rout of Tampa Bay in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup playoff series but the defending champions are unlikely to be rolled over as easy in Game 2.
- [? Darren ?] Hovey, was this a statement game from the Leafs? Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely, it has to be. Because [? you know ?] your Leafs have home ice advantage. It's game one. First time in like two years the Leafs have had fans for a home game. The crowd was was excited. The city was excited. People are talking about it.
And again, this is what we've all been waiting for, not even against the Tampa Bay Lightning specifically. But when it comes down to the team themselves, they've been waiting for that moment. We all heard last year how they went up to Tavares cottage and had a conversation about what went wrong and what they need to do, from the beginning of the season.
Even though they've had their individual accomplishments, it has always been, well you know what, there's still work to be done. There's still work to be done. There's more to play for. We have bigger attributions than this.
So the fact that they go into this game where they are by far not the favorite-- last year they there were the mega favorite. This year they are not the favorite at all. People are saying Tampa and five and Tampa in four. We can't say four anymore because we had-- we won game one. And warranted, granted, so the fact that the Leafs not only won but won the way that they did is a absolutely strong statement game from them.
I guess on a negative or maybe a kind of like be careful sign for the Leafs moving forward in a game two, I think what they need to know is that they can't expect every single game in the series to go that way. Maybe Tampa kind of takes this as a, oh, OK, we let our guard down. Maybe we weren't trying as much. We thought it would be a little too easy. But now we know what this Leafs team can bring, so we kind of have to dial up our efforts, up even further, to kind of compensate for that.
I think Andrei Vasilevskiy is definitely going to be better. I think a lot of the forward stars that Tampa has that weren't doing too well in game one are definitely going to be better. So the Leafs can't go into the other games of the series thinking it's going to be this easy. I'm putting easy in air quotes because not easy at all. Those are all well-thought and well-deserved win from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But this was absolutely a statement game not only for Tampa but I think for the rest of the league. And for a lot of people who discounted this Leafs team and thought that they were just a regular season performing team and they didn't have what it takes to do the nitty gritty necessary things to win in the playoffs, and the Leafs checked off every single one of those boxes.