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The Rite of Spring (AKA 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs Thread)


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Anyone else who would like to see this final four re-seeding stick around permanently? I like the idea that any two teams in the league could potentially play each other for the Stanley Cup (if they use one of the previous playoff formats until the final four). You'd be getting a better chance to see the two best teams in the Final, and you'd sacrifice... what? Eastern and Western conference champions? Just figure out a way to decide which team ignores the Prince of Wales trophy and which team ignores the Campbell Bowl and be done with it 

 

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15 hours ago, Kramerica Industries said:

The Lightning are:

 

21-21 at home in the playoffs since 2014

 

2-8 in Game 1 home openers

 

0-4 in their last four Game 1 home openers

 

During that same time frame, they're 4-1 when they open on the road, and they won both road openers so far this postseason.

 

How they are completely unable to win playoff home games and that this is a problem that they have never figured out (not once since 2014 have they had a better playoff home win percentage compared to their road win percentage) is pretty infuriating. Even their record in "road" games in the bubble last year was better than in the "home" games.

 

Seriously. Just wear white for all games. Away and home. Whatever it takes. 

I think the Lightning really need to win the Cup this year (or at least some other year in the Stamkos/Kucherov/Vasilevskiy/Cooper era).  Not because last year's Cup is any less valuable (anyone who says any of the 2020 pandemic trophies are less meaningful or a "Mickey Mouse trophy" is kidding themselves), but last year was the only year in recent memory where the pressure of having fans was removed.  It was the closest we'll ever get to playing hockey "on paper."  And the Lightning have been one of the best "on paper" teams in the last several years. 

 

I think the Lightning have a mental fragility problem, that has gone unnoticed (other than 2019) because they slipped behind other, bigger failures like the pre-2018 Caps, the Sharks, and the Leafs.  But the Lightning have choked in the playoffs a lot in the Stamkos era, and their difficulty winning in front of their own fans seems to indicate to me that they have a problem dealing with the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd.  If the only Cup they win with this core is in the one year where that pressure was removed, it won't help to dispel any of the notions that Stamkos' teams were mentally weak.

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4 hours ago, Crabcake said:

I think the Lightning really need to win the Cup this year (or at least some other year in the Stamkos/Kucherov/Vasilevskiy/Cooper era).  Not because last year's Cup is any less valuable (anyone who says any of the 2020 pandemic trophies are less meaningful or a "Mickey Mouse trophy" is kidding themselves), but last year was the only year in recent memory where the pressure of having fans was removed.  It was the closest we'll ever get to playing hockey "on paper."  And the Lightning have been one of the best "on paper" teams in the last several years. 

 

I think the Lightning have a mental fragility problem, that has gone unnoticed (other than 2019) because they slipped behind other, bigger failures like the pre-2018 Caps, the Sharks, and the Leafs.  But the Lightning have choked in the playoffs a lot in the Stamkos era, and their difficulty winning in front of their own fans seems to indicate to me that they have a problem dealing with the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd.  If the only Cup they win with this core is in the one year where that pressure was removed, it won't help to dispel any of the notions that Stamkos' teams were mentally weak.

 

What have they choked besides the CBJ series? In the past 7 seasons they're 2-2 in conference finals (with one ongoing) and 1-1 in subsequent Cup finals. Those are good numbers

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I would argue they choked the 2018 conference finals when they lost  Game 6 3-0 and then Game 7 at home 4-0. Getting outscored 7-0 in two straight games when they could've clinched is bad.

 

And the CBJ series, widely believed by historians to be the greatest thing that's ever happened, was such a disaster that I'm kind of amazed Cooper wasn't fired. That Jackets team was a lot better than their record and seed would indicate, but that series was sort of like a double choke. 

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7 hours ago, ManillaToad said:

 

What have they choked besides the CBJ series? In the past 7 seasons they're 2-2 in conference finals (with one ongoing) and 1-1 in subsequent Cup finals. Those are good numbers

 

They had a 3-2 lead in the Conference Finals in 2016 and 2018, and ended up losing both of those series. Now, whether you would argue the Penguins and/or Capitals were better teams is a valid debate, but when you have two chances to win one game and you fail both times (and do it two different times), you don't get the benefit of the doubt.

 

And while their home record overall is poor, it's exceptionally poor once you get that deep in the playoffs. Updated through yesterday, the Lightning are 4-10 at home in the 3rd and 4th rounds of the playoffs since 2015. I swear to God that's not a typo. And in potential win-and-advance games, they're 0-3.

 

I posted this somewhere else, but I looked up every team's record in home Game 1's since 2000. Three teams are winless (Wild and Panthers 0-3, Islanders 0-1), one team has never played one (Columbus)...the Lightning have the worst win percentage after all those teams, and they've played anywhere from 5 to 15x as many of those games as those other three teams have. Among teams to have played at least 10 (there are 14), the Flyers are the only other team with a losing record, and 6-7 is much better than 5-10. The Ducks are .500, and the other 11 are over .500. 

 

The Lightning have generally done well in Game 2 afterwards, but they've lost three of the nine Game 2's following Game 1 losses, and they didn't come back to win any of those series. In two of them, they got swept. If they do win tomorrow? Look, you have to expect to need to win a road game or two in a playoff series anyway, especially if you're opening on the road, and 23-13 in their last 36 road games in the playoffs suggests they're doing something right (and they've played in plenty of tough atmospheres in that time). But it's exceptionally irritating that this is how it always begins. I was talking with some Lightning fans after beating Carolina that I was disappointed that they were going to open at home in the 3rd round, and I wasn't even joking. This is just the way it goes. And the only two times they've won at home to open a series? Against, unequivocally, the two worst teams they've faced in the playoffs since 2014 - '16 Detroit and '18 New Jersey.

 

(BTW, I know this place tends to enforce the "five year rule" - considering how unpopular Bill Simmons is, that's a bit peculiar but maybe that's a different discussion to have - and I'd like to think I've been a pretty good boy about all of that. Outside of a general post or two, I don't even think I've talked about the Lightning, let alone criticized them, at all this season. Hopefully there won't be any need to again either.)

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12 hours ago, Crabcake said:

I think the Lightning really need to win the Cup this year (or at least some other year in the Stamkos/Kucherov/Vasilevskiy/Cooper era).  Not because last year's Cup is any less valuable (anyone who says any of the 2020 pandemic trophies are less meaningful or a "Mickey Mouse trophy" is kidding themselves), but last year was the only year in recent memory where the pressure of having fans was removed.  It was the closest we'll ever get to playing hockey "on paper."  And the Lightning have been one of the best "on paper" teams in the last several years. 

 

well, considering their home crowd went silent for much of game 1, plus the fact that they'll have to deal with Nassau Coliseum's crowd during road games, this doesn't really bode well for them.

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