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Andrei Vasilevskiy: one of the worst playoff starts for a goalie since 1984

The Maple Leafs are one win away from the second round after a superb comeback last night. Well,here’s an exhaustive list of all the reasons why Habs fans are happy to see the Maple Leafs lead 3-1 in their first-round series against the Lightning: Seriously, aside from the fact that the Maple Leafs currently have a better chance than the Oilers or Jets of keeping a Canadian team alive, there’s not much for CH fans to cheer about right now.

And for those who voted “Yes” in 1995, there’s nothing exciting about seeing Toronto performlike this. Of course, we know the series isn’t over. We know that the Maple Leafs, if they’re going to lose in seven games as tradition dictates, must win three beforehand. But this year, things look a little different. The club looks “built to win”, as they say. #Oups

We often talk about the importance of momentum to get into the playoffs, and clearly, the Lightning didn’t have any in the final months of the season. It didn’t show up in the first game of the series, but it’s been evident ever since. Is the club tired of three years of making it to the finals? Did the Lightning wake up the sleeping bear when they pummeled the Leafs in the first game of the series? I don’t know. But what I do know is that, right now, everything is going swimmingly for the team from the Queen City.

Injuries are clearly hurting Lightning players right now. Julien BriseBois’ club misses Erik Cernak and Victor Hedman in his original form, but that’s not all that makes us think Tampa is in trouble. The club is tired and the weight of the years is significant. The Leafs are playing well and not giving up. The departures of guys like Ryan McDonagh or any member of the third trio in recent years hurt… and Tanner Jeannot is doing nothing to make them forget. He must be injured not to laugh, him.

To explain Tampa’s 1-3 record since the start of the playoffs, we can talk about the Leafs’ big guns getting the job done and Sheldon Keefe getting angry at the right time.

This morning on the radio (BPM Sports), Renaud Lavoie was right to mention that Keefe is a happy blend of a coach from another era, but also of the new guard in certain respects.

But if we’re going to talk about the series, we have to talk about the Tampa goaltender. Andrei Vasilevskiy is the best goaltender in the NHL, in my opinion. Once in the playoffs, he usually becomes even more invincible, but this year, that’s not the case. In fact, historically, it’s not the case. Since 1984, only two goalies have given up more goals (and I should say singular goals, because that’s only one more) than Vasilevskiy in their first four playoff games.

In my opinion, if I were a little fly in the Lightning management office, I’d learn that this wasn’t on the Florida team’s bingo card. And you know what? It must be the same in the Toronto offices. I don’t know if it’s fatigue or if something personal is playing on the Russian-born goalie’s mind, but right now, he’s not himself at a time when his teammates need him to be. He’ll have to give up fewer goals at the blocker end to start with, in order to give his team confidence. Does Carey Pr- ah pis laissez faire.

In gusto

– Still.

– We’ll be wondering all summer.

– At least in baseball, things are going well for Tampa.

– Mets cheer on Rangers.

– Yes.

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