SUNRISE, Fla. (WFLA) – The phrase “setting the tone” is tossed around casually in sports, in all sports, but would you agree or disagree that that tone is a crucial component of the contest?
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh seems to believe in it.
“Yes, you absolutely want to set the tone by playing to your structure and by playing to your strengths,” McDonagh said Monday ahead of Game 5.
The Lightning won three of the past four games against the Florida Panthers and scored the first goal of the game in every one of those wins.
“The team that can get to their strengths early on and get some looks and hopefully capitalize on one,” explained McDonagh, “that is going to give you a lot of momentum and confidence going through the rest of the game.”
He has a point. That first goal can enhance your overall mentality and, as this series has shown us, it has succeeded in pushing that particular team to the pinnacle.
“We are trying to control what we can here,” said McDonagh, “and that is about having a good start and playing the way we want to play.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning has never lost a playoff series in which it owned a 3-1 lead in the series. The team actually won 10 of its 10 previous playoff series when ahead three games to one game and it finished the series in Game 5 in seven of those situations.