Last night in the St. Pete Times Forum it was once again like the Stanley Cup run of 2004. The building was sold out, people were chanting, and the atmosphere was electric. There was just one small difference. Last night, the Forum was filled with a bunch of smelly Canadians, there to root on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Spring break, St. Patty’s day, and the fact that smelly people love driving 22 hours to watch mediocre teams play hockey, created a perfect storm that sold the building out for the first time in months, possibly all season.
The game looked good for a while. The Bolts had shut the Toronto fans up by putting 3 unanswered goals on the board, 2 of which had come on the power play. Vinny Lecavalier, Matt Pettinger, and my new favorite stud, Steven Stamkos all put goals on 57 year old Curtis Joeseph, who Canadians just love for some reason. Toskala sucks, OK, we get it! Then Jason Blake, who was determined to get a hat trick scored 2, and Jeff Hamilton tied it up. The overtime period was a ridiculous back and forth shot festival where both teams forgot to play defense and tried to end it. no one could pull it off so it went to a shootout.
Stamkos went up first, having scored his first shootout goal against Florida just nights before . He fired a blaster past CuJo and it rang off the post. Marty St. Louis was next and he did his patented spin move goalie crusher, which had CuJo beat as well.But guess who showed up to ruin our party? Oh the post again. MARTY HIT THE POST!! Hamilton scored for Toronto and it was up to Vinny to keep our hopes alive. Vinny finally showed why he is in the lineup for the shootout. He beat Joeseph with a shot top shelf and sent the Shootout in to sudden death. Ramo stopped a few more, ultimately getting beat to give Toronto the W with a 4 to 3 final.
It would have been nice to disappoint a bunch of Canadians while they were on vacation, but they have to go back to cold Canada eventually, so they will disappointed anyways.