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One thing that has become abundantly clear over multiple decades of sports writing and observing is this: Games play out far differently in the minds of viewers than the minds of athletes.

After a tense postseason game, someone watching from the stands or even on TV might be emotionally spent from all the momentum swings and also ready to quickly assign blame or glory to certain athletes or facets of a game.

The athletes might point to some of those same things when interviewed after the game, but they are likely to have a certain detachment while pointing to things like bad bounces or basketball truths like "it's a make-or-miss league."

The reason starts here: assuming you are watching a high-level professional competition, you are viewing athletes who are the best of the best and who have a supreme belief in their personal abilities as well as the collective ability of their team.

Suggesting pressure was a factor will often be dismissed. And trying to make too much of the idea of momentum will be dismissed even quicker.

Rather than resisting this and trying to fit games into our own narratives, maybe we should consider the evidence and listen to athletes when they say such things.

PWHL Minnesota, for instance, made a compelling case for the idea that playoff momentum is nonsense at multiple points during a championship run that culminated Wednesday, as I talked about on Thursday's Daily Delivery podcast.

PWHL Minnesota entered the postseason about as cold as a team can get, having lost five consecutive games in the regular season and barely squeezing into the playoffs with some help. Two consecutive shutout losses to top seed Toronto followed in the opening round of the playoffs, putting Minnesota on the brink of what seemed to be certain elimination.

From there, of course, Minnesota won five of its next six games to win the Toronto series and take a 2-1 lead on Boston in the championship round. And with a chance to clinch the title on their home ice, Minnesota appeared to win in overtime — only to seemingly lose all momentum when a goal was overturned and Boston scored the winner shortly thereafter.

If you believe in momentum carrying over from one game to the next, Minnesota should have been routed in Wednesday's deciding Game 5 instead of playing the perfect road game in a 3-0 victory.

How did Minnesota players shut out the negative remnants from the Game 4 disappointment? They embraced the new opportunity.

Their belief in themselves was much stronger than their recent memory.

If only we could watch games through the same lens.