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The Maple Leafs were excellent in an overtime loss.

Game seven approaches.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Six Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning haven’t lost back to back playoff games since they were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets in round one in 2019.

The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won a playoff series since 2004.

That all stayed true tonight.

The game started and we went two minutes without a shot on or at the net. No one was giving up anything early, but it was William Nylander who broke things open with a shot that went wide, then Pierre Engvall missing a two on one pass from Nylander.

Steven Stamkos got the first shot for the Lightning, going high glove side on Campbell.

The first five are tightly contested, extremely well played, and we see both teams giving their all from the get go but only get a total of three shots on net. Everything is turned to high tonight, offense and defense.

The next five is another tightly contest few shifts. Clean hockey. No penalties, lots of fighting for the puck though. Only two shots for Tampa, a messy one stopped by Jack Campbell, and another I missed somehow. One from the Leafs.

The Tampa Bay Lightning come very close to opening the scoring, but the puck ends up high in the air and Jack Campbell makes a vertical leap save to grab the puck and end the play.

The Lightning take control of the game, continuing to make Jack Campbell works, getting up close to the net and scaring me a bit that they’re going to score first. They don’t, Campbell does the work, but when the Leafs get the puck they rush in, but are usually playing the perimeter more, passing around and taking far out shots. I don’t care for it.

Steven Stamkos looks like he’s going to score, but Ilya Lyubushkin comes in and holds onto Stamkos so he can’t score. It’s back to traditional playoff hockey folks! This brings out the “Refs You Suck” chant so you know it was good.

Suddenly, right after that chant, Nick Paul draws a tripping penalty. However, he gets a diving call himself so after 16 minutes straight of even strength we get two minutes of four on four.

When the Leafs get out of the zone, Alex Kerfoot tries to drop pass behind him but he doesn’t realize everyone else went to change lines to Ondrej Palat is alone at the blue line, skates in and scores.

Lightning lead 1-0.

The Lightning come right back in and there’s a huge scramble in front of the net. Rielly tries to block the puck from the opponents but ends up falling and tripping Stamkos for the Maple Leafs second penalty, and the first power play of the game with less than 30 seconds to go.

First period ends as the second will begin, with a Lightning power play.

What a way to end the period, eh? Just great. Wonderful. Fantastic.

Hey the second starts with a successful penalty kill, and some offensive zone time for the Leafs afterwards. No goal, but it could have been worse.

The Maple Leafs haven’t given up or let their foot off the gas after that goal against, they keep going hard, they keep playing like they’re going to win this game.

The Maple Leafs continue to pressure the Lightning, and the ability to stay with the puck pays off when Cal Foote gets a tripping penalty against Ilya Mikheyev and the Maple Leafs get their first power play of the game.

The Leafs do well for most of it, until Anthony Cirelli deflects a pass with his stick, gets around Mark Giordano, spins, shoots, and doubles the score.

2-0 Lightning, and the penalty gets killed.

Oh hey, off the face off?

A goal.

For the Leafs.

From Auston Matthews.

Andrei Vasilevky has had to be on top of his game tonight to keep the Lightning in the game and unfortunately, he has. Save after save that gets the Lightning fans on their feet.

Justin Holl - noted worst defender on the Leafs - makes a great play against Nikita Kucherov, saving the day.

Then, with 30 seconds left in the period, the Maple Leafs get a goal from Vasilevsky? John Tavares shoots, but Vasy’s glove knocks it into the net, maybe Jason Spezza gets a taste? It’s officially given to Spezza.

There’s a face off in the Leafs end that gets re-done and that break rests up the Leafs enough that they’re able to go end to end and score to take the lead!

3-2 for the Leafs as the second ends.

The play of the third period doesn’t differ from the second. Back and forth, passes, dump ins, defense, saves. It’s a really good game. Bunting shoots, Campbell saves, Muzzin defends. Everyone does what they should do.

The Lightning come in hard on Campbell, a bit too hard as Morgan Rielly defends Nick Paul and the couple crashes the net, but the puck never gets close to the line.

After another Lightning rush, David Kämpf gets called for high sticking Cal Foote after a missed stick lift, and Foote sells it like he’s in Glengary Glenross. Oh, then another dive for a high stick to Alex Kerfoot. Lightning go five on three for 1:45.

They score one minute in, Jason Spezza argues with the refs about interference and Brayden Points equipment, but there’s no challenge against the play. Game is tied with 10 minutes to play.

The flow doesn’t give in. It’s constant all game. I get scared as the Lightning come in. I get nervously happy when the Leafs get a chance. Brodie. Nylander. Muzzin. The clock tickets down. The Leafs are playing harder for a goal than I’ve seen all season.

Andrei Vasilevskiy can’t be beat.

The Leafs pull out the stops on defense, steal pucks, block shots. Under five minutes left, still tied.

Shots of fans from both sides has everyone breathing into their hands. Hiding from the outcomes of shots, covering eyes, watching every stride without blinking, holding their breath on a rush. Two minutes to go.

41 seconds left. Lighting ice the puck. Face off to Vasy’s right.

Lightning win the face off. Ice the puck again.

Face off again.

Matthews wins. passes to Marner. Shot blocked. Nylander tied up netfront. Vasy smothers the puck. 17 seconds to go.

Leafs win. Pass to Gio. Morgan Rielly shoots, Vasy saves. No rebound.

Lightning win. Get it out.

Horn goes.

Overtime.

The teams come out buzzing to start the extra frame, not missing a step from the first 60 minutes. Lots of time at the start spent in the Leafs zone, but the Leafs are blocking shots, clearing the puck, and keeping the net safe from Lightning goals.

We follow that up with Leafs shots, and Lighting saves.

The top six are getting most of the ice time early as you’d expect, and no one is taking too long of a shift, and everyone is making the most of their time on ice.

Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner pay around with the puck. They keep losing it, but get it back every time. Pass, bounce, shot, spin, the Lightning eventually get it out.

After 6 minutes the Leafs lead in shots 7-1.

Both teams come close with scoring chances but everyone and their mothers are blocking shots out here. The few that do get to the goal are saved and held close to the goalies chest.

Halfway through overtime shots are 9-2 for Toronto but it feels so much closer.

We’re deep into overtime, things are getting sloppy. Missed passes, easy poke checks, thankfully Jack Campbell is still on top of his game. Lots of Leafs o-zone time.

Brayden Point takes a long skate around the net, luring the Leafs defense out of position. As the clock ticks down to the end of this first overtime period, the Lightning are able to take control of the puck and after a scramble in front of the net the puck gets past Campbell.

Lightning win.

Game seven is Saturday night in Toronto.