The next two games for the Toronto Maple Leafs are so high risk, high reward that the team still appears to be playing off the emotion and circumstances around them, leading to a shocking first period performance in Game 5 and an inspired comeback when pucks started bouncing their way.
JUSTIN CUTHBERT: I don't know, you mentioned, Julian, like that this is a different team or they proved on-- like that I've said they're a different team because I do believe there are different team, but like, in Game 5 it didn't look like a different team to me. It looked like the same team that's, like, completely dependent on emotion and what else is happening around them. Like, they were awful in the first period because it didn't go well for them within the first few shifts. And they had no answer until they got a fortunate bounce in the second period.
And then all of a sudden, we go from one of the worst periods that we have witnessed all season long for the Maple Leafs, to them being inspired and playing the way they should. So I feel like it's all so flimsy still. Like, it's all-- nothing's certain about what's going on and they have to prove it one more time and I don't know if they can prove it from a chase position again because they are so in their heads, it seems, even at this point.
But I think the reward, and I prefaced the series with being high risk, high reward, because if you do slay that dragon I think the psychological nature of their struggle will be completely alleviated. Like, I honestly think that this is just the hurdle. If they get past-- it's very simple. If you get past the hurdle the world is yours. If you don't it's going to be really, really bad. Like the stakes on these next two games. They've got two chances to do it. I think if they get a lead in either game early they will complete the job, but if they don't I don't know because you can't always get those fortunate bounces.