Lightning owner Vinik makes controversial statement regarding Leafs and Bruins Game 7

The Bolts’ boss is playing mind games before he even knows his team’s opponent!

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Tonight, sports fans in Toronto and Boston will be treated to perhaps the two best words in all of sports: Game Seven.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins face off tonight at TD Garden in Boston for the penultimate game of their opening round series in a winner take all Game 7. Leafs and Bruins fans across Canada, the United States and indeed the world will no doubt be tuning in to witness the only Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs’ first round and, evidently, they’ll be joined by at least one rival NHL team owner.

Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, whose team will face the winner of tonight’s contest on Saturday night in Game 1 of the second round, was asked by The Athletic’s Joe Smith if he has a rooting interest in tonight’s contest. His answer raised more than a few eyebrows around the NHL.

Check it out:

#TBLightning owner Jeff Vinik, at @Marriott groundbreaking in Tampa, on @MapleLeafs-@NHLBruins Game 7: “I hope they go four overtimes and beat the crap out of each other.”

Wow! Tell us how you really feel, buddy…

For what it’s worth, the Lightning will certainly hold an advantage when it comes to being healthy and rested for Saturday’s Game 1 action. The Lightning wrapped up their series against the New Jersey Devils with a tidy 3-1 victory in Game 5 last Saturday. The full week off between games will no doubt allow them to not only rest up, but to also properly focus and plan for their opponent next round, whether it be the Leafs or Bruins.

Regardless of which team travels to Tampa for Game 1, the Atlantic Division second round series is sure to produce some fireworks, as only eight points separated the three teams during the regular season. The Lightning emerged as Atlantic Division champions during the regular season, but only after fighting off a surging Bruins team in the final games of the NHL's 82 games schedule. In fact, the Bruins got the best of the Lightning during the regular season going 3-1-0 over the Atlantic Division leaders, while the Leafs struggled going just 1-3-0.