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Early takeaways

Early takeaways from the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs: Nathan MacKinnon, Leafs blunders, rookie goalie chants, more 🏒
 
That established: Game 1 of the Panthers vs. Lightning and Game 2 of the Avalanche vs. Golden Knights are the kinds of games that mint new fans. They may not happen every series or every postseason, but there's nothing in professional sports that can replicate their addictive brand of chaos. I wish I could bottle it and put it on a shelf so I could consume it during Game 44 on a Tuesday night in the regular season.
 
Hearing crowds roaring again during the Stanley Cup playoffs offers a sense of long-desired normalcy. This is what hockey is supposed to sound like, and this is what life is supposed to look like. We're not out of this mess yet -- especially north of the border -- but it certainly feels like we're getting there. After playing in cavernous arenas with piped-in sound, you can see the players finding another gear while entertaining the live audiences again.