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Leafs vs Lightning: Speed, offence and turnovers add up to a Leafs loss

The Leafs played well enough to win, except when they didn’t.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/NHLI via Getty Images

The Stanley Cup Champs are in town, let’s beat them.

First Period

Kristīans Rubīns and Timothy Liljegren backing up line two early on, but it’s the third like with Ritchie that get a nice rush chance.

Morgan Rielly goes down hard, tripped by Taylor Raddysh.

Morgan Rielly plays pivot on the ensuing power play for 13 seconds:

1-0 Leafs

Ondřej Kaše looks good on PP1.

We get the first gentle Soup chant as Jack has to make a save.

Every Maple Leaf who has ever worn the jersey batted at this puck, but no:

Seriously, not even Tim Horton could do it. Not even the Big M!

Enjoy your fluky failures as much as Michael Bunting. You’ll get another shot.

Boooo, Jake Muzzin makes a less than salubrious pass that evil incarnate picks off and feathers over to PEB for a goal.

Tie Game

Wayne Simmonds takes a hooking call, and it’s to the PK we go. Soooouuuuuup saves the day on the Bolts good chance.

But Steven Stamkos just nails the puck through everyone to the back of the net. Shea Weber wants that added to his career stats.

2-1 Lightning.

Leafs spent about 10 minutes as the hot knife through the Lightning butter, but that’s changed as the Leafs are chaotically chasing the play now.

You figure he yells, “Shooooot,” when the Leafs have the puck?

Oh, ho. In the midst of some speed-play so intense, no one can really make a smart play, Stamkos takes a cross-checking call. Leafs have just under a minute of PP time.

Or less....

Tie Game.

Nylander with one of his “quiet games” so far. Pops the water bottle.

Thoughts

  • If all you ever watch is the Leafs — or the Lightning — you start to think hockey at this speed is the standard, but good god, this game has been fast.
  • Halfway through the period there was one blob of death, now there’s two.

Second Period

Lightning open the period with more control than the Leafs. Boris Katchouk nearly scores after a bad Justin Holl turnover, and then very shortly another turnover bakes up nice and juicy for the Lightning.

3-2 Lightning

William Nylander made this goal happen.

There’s been a lot of shuffling at the top end of the forwards too, and the Leafs are getting chances, but not converting so far.

This might be the game here:

Turnover on a bad reverse, and this ends up right in the back of the net.

4-2 Lightning

Vasy (and Jan Rutta) makes a big save on a rush to keep the Leafs down by two.

Liljegren gives himself a chance to show off his stickwork, which is very good.

Thoughts

  • Ray did a bit about how the Leafs were “rock solid defensively” for a long stretch, but now they’re just giving up goals. This is — sorry, Ray — bullshit. Classic mistake of the goalie performance for defence
  • For a long and serious look at the strength and weaknesses of the Leafs on defence, go here:
  • Leafs with a big scoring effects push, but they aren’t able to outscore themselves so far tonight

Third Period

Multiple Leafs players lose their sticks, carelessness I guess, so they take the penalty on one of those stick in blade trips.

Nylander and Muzzin nearly get one each shorthanded. It’s really weird to see Nylander PK, though.

You can really see what, or rather who, is missing on the Lightning PP. I’ve been impressed with the Leafs coaching for getting a PP system without Mitch Marner going after only one dud game.

Leafs trying very hard to get cross-crease passes to try to maximize the chance of getting it past Vasilevskiy.

Liljegren is key to keep a long offensive shift going, and in the end...

4-3 Lightning

Toronto take a cheesy penalty, likely because the refs missed Nylander smacking PEB in the mouth with his stick. The PP is notable for the exciting Leafs chances.

The Leafs pour on the offence in the way they can for the last few minutes, but they can’t get Campbell out of the net until two minutes left, and the Leafs damn near have too many men. The Leafs are playing with only one defender most of the time.

But the most likely thing happens, and the Leafs don’t score, the Lightning do as the wrong Ondřej gets another goal.

5-3 Lightning

Thoughts

  • Timothy Liljegren with a great game. Mikhail Sergachev, not so much.
  • Auston Matthews was just spectacular at times with less support than usual.
  • Don’t give freebies to the team with the Vezina winner (or the guy who should have won it, just FYI for the next Jets game)