The Maple Leafs had some last minute schedule changes ahead of this game. Kasperi Kapanen was help out due to illness so Trevor Moore got into the line up. There was some confusion about this, as Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston pointed out:
Tyler Ennis, listed as a scratch on NHL official game sheet, is on the #leafs bench to start the game.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 11, 2019
This turned out to be incorrect, but had some people worried about being down a forward. Not that it would have mattered....
Another oddity, the Maple Leafs were wearing their road whites in this game, which leads me to believe that the Lightning forgot to pack their road equipment.
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The first period is easily summed up by saying the Lightning scored two goals.
If we don’t want to do it the easy way...
John Tavares got a shot on net in the first 30 seconds, the play goes back to the Lightning and they rip shots off quickly on Andersen but Freddie is ready to save the day.
Tampa stays in control of the puck for most of the first period, not to say the Maple Leafs didn’t have an impact on the game. They certainly didn’t take any of the Lightning’s nonsense lying down.
Then, Jake Muzzin tries to play defense, but ends up clotheslining Ondrej Palat
That would give the Lightning their first power play of the game, but it won’t do them any good as the Maple Leafs penalty kill does it’s job and keeps the Lightning out of the net.
The Maple Leafs get a chance right after the penalty expires, but Vasilevsky stonewalls Auston Matthews.
The Maple Leafs play becomes a little sloppy as the period goes on, leading to some mistakes that the Lightning capitalize on.
This needs to be watched in full. Couple missed opportunities to clear and a blind Matthews pass is picked up allowing Kucherov to set up the play for the eventual goal. Tighten the screws boys #Leafs pic.twitter.com/YGxF5L6qZo— Omar (@OLW93) March 11, 2019
The Lightning will score off an Auston Matthews turnover to take the lead.
The Leafs will regroup and and get some time putting the offense hard on the Lightning net, but are still kept off the scoreboard.
A Ron Hainsey turnover leads to the Lightning to take over the game again, and after a minute of Lightning shenanigans, Anthony Cirelli scores to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead.
That was the first period.
The second period begins and the Maple Leafs were trying to take back control of the game. They go into the Lightning Zone more, they get more physical with the Lightning as Marincin avoids an Adam Erne hit and gives it back to him, but they just can’t keep the Lightning out of their zone. The shots aren’t as good, and the players are kept to the outside, but the Lightning are cutting through the defense like a hot knife through butter.
I think this is the issue of the #Leafs "toughness" issue. Zaitsev needs to be a little harder on the body here, the difference in that extra mile is one of the few things that can end defensive-zone possession by the opposition pic.twitter.com/ErfZge6zap— Omar (@OLW93) March 12, 2019
The Lighting go up 3-0 as they take control following an offensive zone face off. The puck goes back to [player] and [player] is left all alone next to a wide open net, and he easily taps in a deflected puck.
Then, not long after that goal, the Lightning go up 4-0.
This goal is the fourth on 15 shots, so Andersen gets pulled, and Garrett Sparks will take over with 35 minutes left in the game. Andersen wasn’t responsible for the Lightning’s lead, but the bad bounces could weigh on him, so it’s a goalie change as a favour to Freddie.
The Lightning have a lot more control of the puck as the period goes on. They’re passing and skating through the Leafs like there’s nothing in their way. When the Maple Leafs do get a chance to score they make it worth the wait:
I’m kidding. It’s too much wait and if it ain’t a goal it wasn’t worth the wait.
This isn’t from any play in particular, but it’s just so unfair.
After some time of drumming our fingers on the table for something to happen from the Leafs, Auston Matthews responds by undressing Brayden Point to score the Leafs first goal of the game.
The Leafs get a bit more pep in their step, and Mitch Marner shoots across the crease, and the missed shot is caught, the Leafs try again, the Lightning try and mvoe the rebound out, but fail, and the Leafs goal attempts only end with an offside call.
The Maple Leafs continue to try and get another goal, and they get a man advantage when Erik Cernak is called for sitting on top of Trevor Moore. Like, literally sitting on top of him.
The Lightning don’t let the Leafs get anything of quality while on the power play, but the Leafs let the Lightning have a 3-1 penalty kill attack against Morgan Rielly, which results in the Lightning’s fifth goal of the game.
A bad change leaves Rielly all alone against the best offense in the NHL. The power play continues, but nothing comes of it.
The buzzer ends the second period and the Maple Leafs leave the ice under a chorus of deserved boos.
There was also a third period, but you know. More of the same.
The Lightning keep the Maple Leafs shots to the perimeter, and the Maple Leafs are not returning the favour to the Lightning. There’s a loud PING when a shot goes off the crossbar, and a nifty rebound comes off it, but Sparks is there to make the save.
Sportsnet keeps putting on a timer, counting how long the Lightning are able to keep the puck in the Leafs zone, and it’s regularly going over 30 seconds.
The Leafs lose a defensive zone face off, which gives us a shot from the point that gets deflected into the net by Cedric Paquette.
The rest of the game after this is more Lightning domination, with the occasional Leafs peek into the offensive zone. Mathieu Joseph takes a penalty for tripping Nazem Kadri which gives the Lightning another chance at a short handed goal.
The Lightning are doing a good job of making the Leafs chase the puck back into their own zone. During the penalty the Maple Leafs had less than 30 seconds of attacking time.
As the game has 4 seconds left, the Maple Leafs luck into a goal to make it 6-2. Whee.
What we’ve learned here is that the Leafs need Travis Dermott and Jake Gardiner back on the blue line, Tampa Bay is unfairly good, so this means that they’ll lose in the cup final to some stupid western team like the Jets*. That’s a small comfort we can hold onto.
The next Maple Leafs game is Wednesday night at 7PM, at home against the Chicago Blackhawks. They’re bad, right?