This will be like no trip Toronto has ever made to Tampa, one that must be all business or, chances are, it will see them come home next week facing possible elimination.
Dating from their first of three Stanley Cups in 2004, the back-to-back champs have an enviable home record of 50-38 in the playoffs heading into Game 3 against the Leafs on Friday.
“The first 10 minutes are important, emotions will be high, the crowd’s going to be in it, the atmosphere great,” said Toronto’s Auston Matthews before Thursday’s flight south. “It’s just making sure of being in control of our emotions, coming out with a purpose, not backing down.
“We’ve got to come out with a push. We felt theirs obviously in Game 2 and we have to have an answer for that.”