What are the Florida Panthers, really?

The Florida Panthers are in the Stanley Cup finals

The NHL will be more than happy to hook their star to an NBA narrative, so while all the fans north of the border bitch about a Stanley Cup Final between the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights, the offices probably aren’t upset about getting linked through dual South Florida 8-seeds playing for a championship. The more shots of Jimmy Butler wearing a Matthew Tkachuk jersey, the better.

The easy-to-reach storyline, so naturally the one that most hockey observers will be grabbing, is that the Panthers making a coaching change after a Presidents’ Trophy campaign last year was a genius move that remade the team into a playoff-ready, defensive, grind-it-out swamp monster. But is that really the case? Well no, and we’ll get to why.

First, it’s probably best to once again underline that the NHL standings are warped and aren’t the full truth, thanks to their dumbass overtime and shootout rules. These are coin flips, gimmicks, and don’t tell us much other than who got a 3-on-1 rush at the right time for no reason other than funsies. Basically, when we separate out the playoff teams in April, all the league has really done is created a group of 16 that doesn’t differ all that much from each other. Thanks, salary cap.

Comparing last year’s Panthers to this year’s team

So when comparing the Panthers this year to last, yes, they finished with 30 points less overall. But they only had two fewer regulation wins this year. Last season, they won 16 games beyond the 60 minutes, far and away the most in the league. Yes, they had the most points, but they had the sixth-most regulation wins. On the flip side, their goal difference was massively better last season (+94 to +17), which can’t be ignored.

Digging in metrically, the narrative falls apart even more. The idea that the Panthers were too open last year as a sweet cheese, good-time boy review doing a dance interpretation of the O.K. Corral and are now a lockdown unit doesn’t hold up under any numbers. Last year, the Panthers gave up 2.46 expected goals against per 60 minutes at even strength. This year it’s 2.69. In the playoffs, they’re giving up 2.80 xGA, after last year’s 2.74. If you want to really get into the weeds, last year’s second-round pulverizing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning was seen as proof that the Panthers were just too easy to play against, whereas their shutdown of the Bruins and Leafs was evidence that they “get” playoff hockey now. In those four games against the Bolts, they gave up 2.60 xGA. Against the Bruins this spring? 2.59. Against the Leafs? 2.58. Could it be the difference is Sergei Bobrovksy’s .935? Or maybe not having Andre Vasilevskiy throw a .981 at them? Couldn’t be, could it?

Throw in Matthew Takchuk shooting 18 percent for six weeks and you probably have the formula. Certainly swapping out last year’s leading scorer for Tkachuk took a fair amount of balls, though in a vacuum pretty much everyone would have told you Tkachuk is a better player than Jonathan Huberdeau. It just worked out so well.

The Panthers are just an example of hockey sequencing. They put up the same numbers for two seasons, but get fewer results than they did last year simply because the goals are in a different order than they were, with fewer of them coming after 60 minutes to skew the overall results. That won’t stop everyone throwing bouquets at Maurice should they get the four wins against Vegas in the next two weeks, and Maurice should get enough credit, I guess, for at least not getting in the way too much to prevent the Panthers from doing pretty much what they did last season. Maybe they do it in a different way, but it ends up the same. If this team was talented enough to be on top of the standings last year, then it’s certainly talented enough to be in the Final now.

What does it mean for the Stanley Cup Final?

What does that mean for the Final? The Panthers had 19 fewer points in the regular season than the Knights, but two more regulation wins in a far tougher division and conference. Both teams have depth, but the Panthers have the sharp ends that the Knights don’t have, with Tkachuk and Bobrovsky both playing the way they are. And maybe Maurice will figure out, which Dallas’s Pete Deboer didn’t, to try and break out of the defensive zone in another way other than up the boards. Certainly, with Brandon Montour, Aaron Ekblad, Gustav Forsling they can do more than that.

And should they, it’ll be called a miracle and an incredible run of a team that needed the Pittsburgh Penguins to lose to the Chicago Blackhawks at home in the last week of the season even to get into the playoffs. When really all it is is last year’s team getting to roll the dice again, because that’s what hockey is.

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The Florida Panthers changing their narrative is the story of the NHL playoffs

Matthew Tkachuk strikes again

The Florida Panthers were written off. Down three games to a lowly one to the Boston Bruins, the most dominant regular-season team of all time, needing two wins in their barn to even get out of the first round. Since that 6-2 loss at home to the B’s, the Panthers are 11-1. Three straight over the Bruins, four of five from the trendy-pick Maple Leafs, and an Eastern Conference Finals sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes, the first postseason sweep in Florida’s franchise history. And now, the disappointing President’s Cup Trophy winners from a season ago, who weren’t deserving of advancing past the Capitals in last year’s first round, only to get swept by Tampa Bay in the second, have gone from irrelevant, to overlooked to undeniable.

Matthew Tkachuk was clutch

All four games against Carolina were decided by one goal, with all three Matthew Tkachuk game-winners coming with less than five seconds left in regulation, or later, in the case of both games in Raleigh. Winning on the road in the postseason is critical and incredibly tough. The Panthers have won their last six away from Sunrise, which might be more impressive than the 11-1 record they’ve put up since being left for roadkill by the NHL community at large. Does the upset feel any better for Boston fans that the Panthers have been nearly invincible since the extremely premature exit?

It’s been nearly a bi-nightly occurrence since the lights went out in Beantown. Let’s not forget how many tapes the Bruins had the Panthers on the ropes, with two knockdowns, looking for that third punch to connect that sends Florida to the canvas to end the fight. Game 5 went to overtime, with a Tkachuk winner. The Panthers trailed twice in the third period of Game 6 and scored the game’s final three goals to force a Game 7. Florida trailed in the third period again in the win-or-hand-in-your-skates contest, only to have Brandon Montour find the back of the net with one minute left in the Panthers’ chase for the Stanley Cup.

The Panthers no longer an afterthought

In two seasons, the Florida Panthers have completely changed their perception in the NHL. Growing up a fan of the Capitals competing in the old Southeast Division, it was a cakewalk to plenty of division titles. It was even easier to be the most relevant team of the quintet. Florida and Atlanta were yawns, with the latter being so sleep-deprived it moved to another country, with the home of the Hawks and Falcons losing a professional hockey franchise for a second time. Carolina and Tampa Bay were upstarts, building brands, not having one established yet. And as the Capitals missed the playoffs for only the second time since 2007, it was time to take a look at the NHL’s landscape as a whole. No one leveraged the opportunity with longtime Eastern Conference powerhouses Washington and Pittsburgh out of the postseason more than Florida. Now the Panthers just have to worry about the likely incoming challenge from Vegas, who didn’t exist until 21 years after Florida’s last Stanley Cup Finals appearance. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs disappoint their fans by winning

The Maple Leafs avoided elimination — for now

No one does a post-mortem like the Toronto Maple Leafs. For the past six years, it’s been an April tradition. The Leafs spit up all over themselves in the playoffs, and then the next week the rest of the playoffs are drowned out by the wailing from southern Ontario about who needs to be traded, who needs to be fired, who needs to be signed, and why the NHL needs to do more to bend the rules to those in blue more often. It’s what they do best, as it’s their natural state. Leafs Nation doesn’t want to win so much as to tell everyone what they think it takes to win.

But no, after a shaky first period, the Leafs gained control of Game 4, finally got a bounce in a puck that hit the ref’s skate and banked perfectly to William Nylander in the slot, as well as a big goal from Mitch Marner. And then they were able to hold on without asking rookie Joseph Woll to do too much in net.

Which means they very well might be saving this for the Toronto crowd, in most ways more delicious than simply getting swept. They’ll make their fans watch. Or better yet, they’ll win Game 5 and actually give their fans hope. Or what looks like hope, but is really a ruse they try to pull on the rest of the hockey world so they can justify nailing themselves to the cross even more even if we saw through the act long ago. Their various video bloggers will be drinking two gallons of their own piss instead of one soon enough.

The shots of Maple Leaf Square might convince the uninitiated that Leafs’ fans are relieved to get one win, to not have to suffer the embarrassment of being swept by a No. 8 seed, and to have just the tiniest bit of hope restored with a home game coming. They have to win at home after losing twice, right? Anything could happen after that, right?

Don’t be fooled, it’s not how they’re built. Leafs Nation’s favorite time of year is right after the team beefs it. That’s when they’re at their best, declaring their highest-paid players are failures and soft and need to be removed for players who get it, and then acting incredulous when other star players take a pass on playing in Toronto. The week after a Toronto exit is a holiday, full of everyone “knowing” the answer and how the rest of us just don’t understand what it means to be a Leaf. Which is strange for an area that hasn’t actually seen a winner in 56 years. How is everyone so sure what it takes?

Edmonton Oilers dominate, even series vs. Golden Knights

Speaking of more dumb hockey-ness, the Golden Knights got a blue and orange foot shoved up their ass and into their ribcage last night to the tune of a 4-1 score that wasn’t that close. And as the Knights are wont to do, more so than any other team it feels like, they took a playoff loss in the classiest way possible:

This will be yet another chance for George Parros, who heads the Department of Player Safety, to show the world what the maximum fine is for a player, the same amount Alex Pietrangelo will tip whoever washes his car next week. Which is why you don’t hire a former goon to decide what needs to be wiped from the game.

There is nothing hockey about this. It’s a vicious attempt to injure and nothing more. What could warrant a suspension other than a player going out of his way, chasing an unsuspecting player, and trying to knock him out of the rest of the playoffs across the ice from the puck?

But no, Parros will bend to the ancient hockey tradition of “message sending,” the canopy of the truly idiotic that keeps the game in the dark. Which will probably turn Game 5 into mayhem, which might be what the NHL wants anyway.

There was more horseshit in the last two minutes of this one, as there always is when one team gets powdered in a playoff game, especially when that team is the Knights. Which is a keen ploy, doing anything that will have the refs in Game 5 on high alert and calling penalties left and right. A team definitely wants to put the Oilers on the power play as much as they can. Cornwallis is fainting at the genius of the strategy. Not like that unit has become self-aware or anything.

The San Siro crowd delivers

Switching to soccer, I can get snobby about the atmosphere at sporting events in North America and how canned and tame it can feel a lot of the time. And this is why, courtesy of both Milan and Inter Milan fans before yesterday’s Champions League semi-first leg:

Claudio Castagnoli once again shows his strength on AEW Dynamite

And finally, pro wrestling:

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Completely blowing it in the first round is good for business, history says

It sucks, but it might not be so bad long-term?

The loyalists in the overpriced seats at Boston’s TD Garden for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference first-round should’ve-been shellacking between the hometown Bruins and barely made it into the postseason Florida Panthers went from agitated, to full-on bittah in booing the 135-point getters in the regular season. The record 65 regular-season wins, 135 points, and the 22-point margin to the second-best pre-playoffs team made a series against the Panthers look like a cakewalk on paper. And after Carter Verhaeghe’s overtime wrist shot beat replacement goaltender Jeremy Swayman clean over his left shoulder and under the crossbar, David Pastrňák, and his friends can start practicing his golf swing. And if history is any indicator, that’s a good thing for Boston.

No, I’m not drunk on Sam Adams or whatever was thrown into the Habah during the Revolutionary War. The only recent example that compares to this year’s Bruins’ squad was the 2018-19 Lightning. Tampa Bay had 128 points to end the regular season, 21 better than the next-best team. The Lightning finished the regular season and their overall campaign with 62 victories. That’s right, for those who actually were/are drunk on Sam Adams, cheers, and welcome to Deadspin! Also, Tampa Bay was swept in the first round by the lowly Blue Jackets. And most of those four games weren’t close. The next time Tampa lost a playoff series was just over 10 months ago. Two straight Stanley Cup victories and a runner-up finish to the Avalanche followed the extreme disappointment. And Boston was one lucky bounce a few times during the series from bouncing the Panthers from the postseason.

A look into Boston’s future

There’s no reason Boston can’t replicate Tampa’s model, even with the uncertainty as to whether Patrice Bergeron has played his final NHL game, and any questions in net. The Bruins loaded up ahead of the trade deadline and keeping the core of the team together should be easy. And whatever pieces move on, there aren’t many more attractive cities to play in for an NHL player. The postseason is a crapshoot as is. Going to a team nearly guaranteed to participate in the playoff festivities next season should allow Boston to bring in any player it wants. One of the players the Bruins need to keep is defender Dmitry Orlov, who was acquired at the trade deadline. Orlov’s slap shot late in the third period grazed the shoulder blade of Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and the post. Maybe a centimeter in a different direction and Boston takes a late-two-goal lead and it advances to face Toronto in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Boston’s first-round exit is shocking in a postseason that feels like a changing of the guard in the Eastern Conference when three of the four teams remaining on its side of the bracket could be Florida, Toronto, and New Jersey after Monday evening, just as everyone predicted. The Bruins not crapping their pants would keep things the same, a year after Tampa also exited the playoffs in the first round, and old-standards Washington, and Pittsburgh didn’t even advance to the postseason. As gut-wrenching as the Bruins’ loss on Sunday might be short-term, it’s proven to yield great results in the long run.

Playoff hockey is stupid anyway

Patrice Bergeron hugs Brad Marchand before exiting the ice after Florida Panthers defeated the Bruins 4-3 in overtime of Game Seven of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The NHL Playoffs gets its jollies from defying logic or explanation, and reveling in its unpredictability. That doesn’t mean it’s always a free-for-all, as hockey and its fans would have you believe. But it delves into the chaos and silliness more often than its brethren, that’s for sure.

Both #1 seeds got bounced

Last night in dueling Game 7s, both #1 seeds in each conference ate it in one-goal games. The record-setting Bruins, with their 65 wins and 135 points, were a minute away from sending the Florida Panthers home where they belong, but a tying goal from Brandon Montour off a bounce off a skate sent the game to overtime. There, Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo got a little confused on a dump-in, hesitating just long enough to allow the Panthers to get to the puck first and cause a rucks, which ended with Carter Verhaeghe loose in the circle to go top cheese to end the series and author the biggest upset, points-difference-wise, in NHL history.

Completely their double were the Seattle Kraken, who rode Phillip Grubauer’s biggest game and a bounce off Ben Meyers’s hand to a 2-1 win, with a splash of an offside-review to cancel out the Avs apparent equalizer in the 3rd period (and rightly so, it should be said).

The Bruins and Avs are not the same, despite their lofty seeding, pub, and expectations. The Avs have had a wonky season from the get-go, with their captain Gabriel ThreeYaksAndADog missing the entire season and the loss of Nazem Kadri pilfering the top six. They were racked with injuries all year and rarely rolled out their full team. But they were good enough to be part of the playoff muck, which is what the grouping had become in the West, and end up on top of the Central Division.

The Bruins were supposed to be as sure of a thing as could be, and we certainly thought so, and yet couldn’t close out a pretty flawed Panthers team that couldn’t even get its #1 center, Sasha Barkov, to show up at any moment, whatever his assist total may be.

What happened to the Bruins?

The Bs certainly seemed to freeze in Game 6 and 7, especially in overtime last night, where the apprehension passed back and forth between team and crowd and multiplied with each sharing. The Bs made the choice to flip to Jeremy Swayman in net for Game 7, after Linus Ullmark was pretty sketchy in Game 6. And he was fine enough, though Bs fans will be playing over the softie that opened the scoring on Sunday. Boston had flipped between their goalies all season, so doing so again shouldn’t have been a big deal, but will be pounced on by all observes in the Hub you can be sure. If anything they should have probably bounced between their netminders sooner.

It would be the biggest folly ever to try and deduce meaning out of the six-month regular season pretty much being obliterated by what happens in the playoffs on the reg. This is just the way hockey wants it. The combination of the nature of the sport (every game is only decided on a handful of moments), the strictest salary cap in sports (and one that has remained flat for a few years) has simply made it so there isn’t much difference between these teams, even one that was 42 points better in the regular season than their opponents. Over two weeks, any team can run with any other one with just the right amount of fortune. Fuck, you can put a team together from scratch and watch it have playoff success within two years, which has now happened twice in the past five years now in this league.

It was a stark contrast to what went on in the NBA earlier in the day, where the Warriors could let Steph Curry bury the Kings by himself, though it should be mentioned that the Warriors are a 6-seed themselves after pretty much ignoring the regular season. But they’ve earned that right. The Avs couldn’t run Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar out there for 40-45 minutes, and the deeper you go into the lineups the more the teams look the same. It’s harder and harder to stack talent for long.

There’s not much you can do about how hockey works, and this isn’t some call to find a way to step-ladder the playoffs to make the regular season mean more. The bounce that got to Montour to tie Game 7 with less than a minute to go could have gone anywhere. The multiple bounces that led to the Kraken’s opening goal were the very definition of random. That’s just how it goes in this.

Of course, with yet another season of the cap remaining flat and this kind of goofiness always likely, fans might start to wonder why even bother with the 82 games. Until the cap really starts to jump, they matter less and less.

Very bad soccer

Two very stupid soccer teams played a very stupid soccer game yesterday, as Liverpool took a 3-0 lead on a Spurs side that apparently left the bus running, only to blow that lead when they switched jerseys around the 40th minute, and then Liverpool won it when Tottenham had a very Tottenham moment.

But perhaps the perfect symbol for this game, and both teams’ seasons, was Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp pulling his hamstring celebrating a winning goal that really shouldn’t even feel all that good, while yelling at the 4th official, whom he later admitted hadn’t done anything wrong:

Life is in the details, I suppose.

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The Maple Leafs won the game they should have lost, which they never do

Auston Matthews celebrats a first-period goal against Tampa in yesterday’s victory.

It’s almost always futile to look for “signs” or “omens” in playoff hockey. The next bounce off someone’s ass doesn’t really care what happened before, and apparently, this season, neither will the next call the ref misses but still manages to leave your D-man maimed, and the opposing forward an open path to your net.

But that doesn’t stop fans, especially tortured ones (if only in their own mind), from looking for anything that might indicate a change in fortunes. If you’re a Maple Leafs fan, you’ll drink any form of sand in the desert. And yesterday’s comeback win over the Lightning that gave the Leafs a 2-1 lead in the series is an especially tasty bit of sand.

Make no mistake, the Leafs were terrible for most of the 79 minutes of Game 3. They were thoroughly outshot, out-attempted, and out-chanced by the Lightning. Ilya Samsonov came out extremely jumpy in net and looked like he was trying to make three saves at once. They treated the puck like it was some active rodent, and their slow (and getting slower) defense was snowed in by the Lightning for the most part.

The numbers are ugly. At even strength, the Lightning had 65 percent of the attempts. They had 64.5 percent of the expected goals. They had 63 percent of the scoring chances. In Games 1 and 3, the Lightning have feasted on the Maple Leafs’ need for their forwards to do just about everything. Other than yesterday’s hero Morgan Rielly, the Leafs’ defensive corps cannot create enough time for themselves to complete a pass, much less join in any offensive rush, or possession. The Leafs are dependent on their forwards to carry the puck 170 feet or more to get up the ice. Especially yesterday, that has played right into Tampa’s strangulation 1-1-3 defensive plan.

They shouldn’t be leading, but they are

And yet… the Leafs lead the series. They found a way, which is not a sentence one ever writes about the Leafs, at least not in a positive fashion. Their star players just pulled them out of it. Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews created a turnover and havoc in the Lightning zone, and eventually the former found the latter for a tip to score to give them a 2-1 lead in the first that could have, and should have, gotten away from them. Ryan O’Reilly tied the game with less than a minute to go. And Rielly, the only blue-liner on the Leafs who doesn’t look like he’s skating through toxic waste, floated in the overtime winner.

Those four players also happen to be Toronto’s leading scorers through the first three games, where the Lightning have been more paced by their depth players like Cory Perry, or Anthony Cirelli. Tampa can take heart from that because their stars are likely to chip in in a big way at some point, but they’re also starting to run a little short on time. They can also take heard that in the two games Victor Hedman has played, they’ve mostly rolled the Leafs aside from a third period in a Game 1 that was already decided. The Leafs have no such player on their back end who just calms things down.

And yet…they lead 2-1. Yes, they were here just last year. They even led 3-2 last year and went into overtime with a chance to end it. They didn’t. They had Andrei Vasilevskiy looking a little shaky then, just as they do now. But this Lightning team, with the exceeding mileage on it with yet another deep run from last spring added to it, probably isn’t as capable of as many dominant performances as it once was. It just wasted one of them.

It’s never a good idea to get on the Leafs bandwagon. It smells and it has a brackish clientele. But it’s still rolling, which after yesterday, is something of a new trick.

It’s never enough for Rob Manfred and his greedy pig bosses

This man hates baseball

You’d think after negotiating a CBA, before which Rob Manfred got to live out his lifelong dream of canceling baseball games, where the owners got a new level of luxury tax penalties, didn’t really have to pay younger players all that much more than the pennies they already were, and certainly didn’t suffer any major changes that would cost the owners more money or restrict their franchise values, they and their stooge might just sit and grin and watch the money roll right in.

Silly rabbit.

At the Sports Business Journal’s World Congress of Sports, where he was fielding questions from Dan Beckerman and Peter Guber — so just rename this fucking thing A Stupefying Collection of Assholes — Manfred answered one of the questions posed to him by saying that having no limits on contract lengths was transferring money to older players and not leaving any for younger players, who make up the majority of today’s stars. Because teams only have a certain amount they can spend, once a highly paid player goes off the boil he’s immovable, and hence those who might deserve a bigger paycheck can’t get it from teams that are carrying these anchors (hasn’t stopped the Padres, who are still paying Eric Hosmer, mind).

Let’s be clear: The only obstacle keeping young players from getting paid more is the people Manfred works for, and that’s the owners. The San Diego Padres, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels have had no problem handing out long-term deals and finding more money for other players too. Same goes for the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners and a couple of others to boot. We know there’s more than enough money there for everyone, they just horde it simply because they can.

This is a management tactic as old as the goddamn hills, trying to pit one section of the labor force against another to keep them from uniting against management. Make it seem like those who have earned their long-term deals are the villains, and suddenly maybe the younger players might be receptive to listening to a cap on players they perceive aren’t them.

When is it enough for these dickbags? They get to run a multi-billion dollar industry, the value of their franchises has multiplied four or five times and will only continue to roll over as much, they’ve got essentially a salary cap in place, they’re four years from this CBA ending and they’re already got their hatchet man setting targets for a way they can grab a little more.

And if they want to, when 2027 rolls around, they could lock the players out long enough to get it. Only a shit-for-brains like Manfred would take the good buzz baseball has these days thanks to the rule changes, quicker pace of play and game times, and the shine from the WBC highlighting some of the game’s best players in a new way and toss it into the nearest pig pen he could find.

I’d say I hope someone’s lawn mower goes rogue one day and runs him over from the knee down, but these jackasses would just find another.

Great start, Leafs

Well, that couldn’t have gone much worse for the Leafs.

In a pivotal series that will decide the future of an entire organization and shape a lot of careers, the Toronto Maple Leafs got fustigated by the Tampa Bay Lightning to the tune of a 7-3 scoreline that wasn’t that close. Even when they had managed to pull within 3-2, they immediately tossed up their lunch and then completely melted down when Michael Bunting decided he could do one better than Draymond Green in the chucklehead department. Hopefully he’ll receive a suspension as well for that cheap shot at the worst possible time. But everything is at the worst possible time for the Leafs.

There’s still a very long way to go, and the Leafs will know from last year an emphatic Game 1 win guarantees nothing. But they may already, or should be, asking themselves if a team can really be serious about a Stanley Cup when it is starting Luke Schenn, the husk of Mark Giordano, Justin Holl, Jake McCabe, and TJ Brodie on defense with a straight face. They were slow and ponderous and beat all over the ice to loose pucks, because they have the collective mobility of syrup.

The Leafs’ forwards can get them out of a lot of jams, and it’s looking like they’ll have to.

Blue Shirts win

Elsewhere, the New Jersey Devils learned there’s a difference between playing fast and being in a rush. New Jersey is faster than the N.Y. Rangers, and they tried to manifest that against the Rangers by trying to force turnovers above their blue line or on the forecheck But they were in such a hurry they were manic with the puck for the first period, left some gaps when they turned it over, and they didn’t get the big saves that Igor Shesterkin gave the Rangers. Once they settled down at the end of the first and through the second period they were far the better team, but by then it was too late. Give Shesterkin a lead he can sit on and it becomes quite the mountain. Lesson learned.

Max Muncy crushes one

Meant to get to this yesterday. I know Max Muncy crushes this ball, Dodger Stadium ops, but there are a few people in the bleachers who might be interested in catching it, and turning the lights off ups the odds of them getting some seams imprinted on their dome by like 700 percent:

I know L.A. loves its dark bars, but try not to turn your ballpark into one when there’s a baseball hurtling at your patrons. First rule of business school.

To follow Sam’s addled thoughts in real-time, follow him on Twitter @Felsgate.