Things looked dark for the Toronto Maple Leafs during Game 5 in the first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Leafs were trailing 2-0 with the first period played, but Toronto went out with a new spark and outscored Tampa 4-1 during the last 40 minutes.
William Nylander scored one goal and three points in the victory, putting Toronto up 3-2 in the series, but afterward, the Toronto player’s praise came to Jason Spezza.
The veteran forward didn’t score any goal and wasn’t on the scoresheet at all, but held a speech to the team during the first intermission, so good it fueled Toronto’s comeback.
“He’s a great leader, and he’s been around, and he knows what it takes, and when he speaks, we listen,” said William Nylander.
Captain John Tavares agreed.
“Spezz really spoke well, and I think everyone as a group understood that as each game passes by, the margin for error gets smaller and smaller,” he said.
So what did Spezza say, exactly? The Toronto players didn’t want to specify, but they all agreed it was something special.
“Just that it wasn’t good enough, and we have to start battling in this game. That was the gist of the message,” Nylander said. “We got our legs going in the second.”
Jason Spezza also skated right to Jack Campbell after conceding the second goal, trying to get him going. What a leader!