A long, long time ago, in the halcyon days of 2010 (when the planet Jupiter was destroyed due to international tensions, according to the film, 2010, which I assume is a historical documentary), the Boston Bruins took a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in Round 2 of the NHL playoffs.
But then they lost Game 4. And Game 5. Game 6? Oh, you'd better believe they lost it.
And then, just when the Bruins thought they couldn't lose any more games, they remembered there was a Game 7 -- but by then it was too late, and they had lost it. With that, the Bruins became just the third team to drop a series after winning the first three games.
You probably remember this story, either because it was just three years ago or because it's been coming up a lot this week, what with Boston having taken another commanding 3-0 series lead, this time over the New York Rangers, and then losing Game 4.
Frankly, with 2010 in mind, losing this series seems even more impossible now. These collapses happen about once every 30 years. I think of it like being hit by lightning or bird poop. It's unlikely to happen a first time, let alone a second time so soon after, at that. Once you've been struck, be it by bird excrement or a massive electrical discharge from the sky, that has to be it, no? Consider yourself scratched off the universe's hit list.
But on the other hand, as unlikely as it is to happen, this one time, it happened. And now, every time the Bruins take a 3-0 series lead, they'll be haunted by the ghosts of 2010, at least in media reports, until they close this thing out.
Considering the Rangers are the ones with their backs against the wall, you'd have to think they're going to be the more motivated team in Game 5, and Game 6, if it comes to that. But the Bruins have only to look to 2010 for extra motivation, and really, they don't have to look at all, since reporters will bring 2010 to them. The longer they let the Rangers hang around in this series, the longer they'll have to hear about that unfortunate event.
The Stanley Cup is motivation enough, of course, but if they need any more, it's this: a loss in Game 5 means two extra days and perhaps more, of talking about a moment they'd rather not relive.
Want everyone to shut up about it? Win on Saturday.