You don’t really know how it feels until you live it.
Toronto Maple Leafs leading goal-scorer John Tavares expected a cocktail of emotions when facing the New York Islanders for the first time. A buzz of history and memories and kinship, though he couldn’t quite find the words for all the “different feelings” he anticipated.
“I don’t want to say uneasiness because that’s the wrong word, but I think probably some uncertainty because you haven’t been through it before,” Tavares tried explaining as the anticipation mounted. “I’ve gone through a lot of things in my career up to this point; you have a good sense of what comes at you and been through it or how to handle it.
“But, obviously, this is a new experience.”
It’s a shame, then, that his talented new teammates chose this evening to submit a rather flat performance, a 4-0 loss that brought the Leafs’ five-game tear of wins to a screeching halt at the feet of the better club.