'I'm not nervous, just excited:' Players' family and friends 'pumped' for Game 7
Based on the Montreal Canadiens jerseys with their son's name on the back, it's pretty clear who Amanda and Rob Suzuki are cheering for in Monday night's game seven.
The London, Ont. couple are the parents of Nick Suzuki who plays for the Habs.
"I'm not nervous, I'm pretty excited and just so happy that they managed to Game 7," says Amanda, whose son won game five of the series in overtime, helping Montreal push this series to the limit.
"It's a classic matchup," says Rob, who feels there isn't anything more Canadian than a Leafs-Canadiens game seven.
Rob grew up a Leafs fan, but when his son became part of the Canadiens, he quickly switched allegiances.
"We went through it before when he was playing for Guelph and he grew up cheering for London," says Rob, so it's not unfamiliar territory to cheer for the team playing against the favourite.
"We watched them beat London out of the playoffs so we are used to being on the wrong side of the popular opinion."
Just down the road in St. Thomas, Ont. the city has quickly converted from San Jose Sharks country to Leafs territory after Joe Thornton signed on in Toronto.
The Thomson family from St. Thomas, Ont. show their support for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"It's exciting and I think a lot of the fellows are really excited to get this game underway," says Jim Leddy, Thornton's close friend.
Leddy is one of the co-owners of Danglers Edge Sports in St. Thomas, and has been selling a lot of Thornton T-shirts and jerseys.
He was one of those who transitioned from being a Sharks fan, to rooting for the blue and white.
"It's been nice having him close to town and the 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. games have been great for the guys and the kids too," says Leddy, who would love to see Thornton continue his quest for his first Stanley Cup Championship.
"He's been in the NHL close to 1,700 games now and I think this is a great team. If they can win this game tonight, they're going to put themselves in good position going forward."
Joe Thornton T-shirts at Danglers Edge Sports in St. Thomas, Ont. are seen Monday, May 31, 2021. (Brent Lale / CTV News)
There will be former members of the London Knights dressed in Monday night's matchup too. Mitch Marner will be in the Leafs lineup, while Josh Anderson and Corey Perry will play for Montreal.
"With the friendship ties to Corey, I would like to see him succeed as far as possible," says Danny Syvret, the former Knights captain who is best friends with Perry.
"He's in the later half of his career and it would be nice to see him win again, and in a Canadian city would be great. I wasn't really a Montreal fan growing up but I'll probably lean towards Montreal tonight."
Syvret says he would love to be in the building tonight, but is really excited as a hockey fan and former NHLer for Game 7.
"Whatever the outcome is I just hope that it's not at the expense of someone's failure," says Syvret. "I just hope it's a good hard fought game and the best team will win."
The Maple Leafs have not advanced to the second round of the playoffs since 2004, and have lost six straight potential series-clinching games.
Although the Las Vegas casino odds are heavily in favour of Toronto, the Suzuki family believes their son will be moving on to face Winnipeg in round two.
"They're gonna win tonight for sure," Rob says.