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Game 1 Recap: Leafs give every reason to believe in complete effort

Redefining Playoff Mitch

Tampa Bay Lightning v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game One
TORONTO, ON - MAY 2: Mitch Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with teammate Auston Matthews #34 during the second period in Game One of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scotiabank Arena on May 2, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs looked like a different team in their 5-0 shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in game 1 of their first round series of the 2022 NHL Playoffs.

Jake Muzzin scored the opening game-winner, Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews shared three point nights (one goal for Mitch, two for Auston), and David Kämpf got another for the shorthanded crew.

Jack Campbell stopped all 23 shots he faced in the win, his second career playoff shutout.

This was the Leafs tonight, utterly dominant.

The shots on goal were 31-23 in favour of the Leafs (shot attempts even), with the Leafs taking 57% of the expected goals. Marner, Nylander, Engvall, and Matthews all led the Leafs in expected goals, all over 67%. Matthews and Nylander shared the Leafs lead in shot attempts with six each. The only Leaf without a shot attempt in the game was Clifford.

24 minutes of this game (give or take) was played on special teams, with Kyle Clifford getting ejected early, and capped by a line brawl between fourth lines late. There is no brotherly love between these two similarly-dressed teams. Expect the series to be pretty nasty from here on out.

This game truly was the greatest development in human history.

First Period

The Lightning got the opening power play with Brodie going to the box for hooking. The Leafs blocked a shot on Stamkos, but otherwise kept the puck away from Campbell.

Sergachev turned the puck over behind his own net and Marner nearly scored on the wrap. He had a second chance, but fell. He got the pass across, so no call felt warranted.

Clifford with two hits, the first of Rutta, the second of which was a penalty. He hit Colton into the boards on the numbers from behind far away from the puck. The second hit cost Clifford and the Leafs a five minute penalty, and a game misconduct. (If he was Kadri that would’ve been a suspension). Big PK for the Leafs.

Kerfoot on the power kill almost gave the Leafs the lead, but he panged the crossbar. Kerfoot followed it up with another almost-chance to Mikheyev but it didn’t connect. Two shots for the Leafs on the penalty kill with Brodie getting another from Marner. Giordano hit the side of the net with a third chance! The Leafs killed the final two minutes after a joyous first three with one shot against late on a bad angle from Stamkos.

And all of that led to a power play for the Leafs! Kucherov with a crosscheck from behind on Brodie. Nylander got the first chance, nearly scoring from the bumper spot. Matthews followed up with a wrap-around, followed by a big shot from distance.

Kerfoot did a give-and-go with himself off the end boards on another great shift from him. Definitely practiced that at home.

An unreal shift in the offensive half of the ice for the third line. Engvall had the first chance, Kämpf locked down the neutral zone, feeding Nylander for a breakaway. He was hooked all the way down while getting the deke off, Leafs to another power play.

Rielly with a big chance on the power play, Marner with one before him, AND THEN JAKE MUZZIN!!!!!

1-0

JAKE MUZZIN SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY FROM DISTANCE!! The defender’s big shot from the point found its way through three bodies, might’ve been deflected off Mikheyev, and found the back of the net.

Nylander had another chance on a breakaway set up to him by Tavares, but Vasilevskiy had him with the five-hole.

After One

Lots of special teams in that period, with only half of it at 5v5. The Lightning had seven minutes on the power play where they were tied in shots 3-3 (and were ahead in xG). The Leafs had three minutes on the power play because Muzzin’s goal was scored midway through the second penalty.

All Situations Stats:
Shot Share: 16-9
Scoring Chances: 11-3
Expected Goals: 60%

Second Period

Mikheyev got called for tripping by going into the boards with Cernak. Kämpf and Marner got the puck out early. Kerfoot got the puck out next with good help from Giordano and Liljegren. Liljegren then sprung Blackwell on a break, but Hedman kept him to the outside.

Kämpf drew another penalty on Sergachev with a great stick high in the blueline. Sergachev had to drop Kämpf or risk giving up a huge chance. Leafs to the power play after a short burst at 4v4.

Matthews with a huge chance on the power play seconds after Rutta got called for cross-checking Marner while he was down during the puck scrum. Lot of unnecessary penalties coming from Tampa. Keefe and Carbery called a timeout to set up the power play just how they liked. 5v3 for one minute.

2-0

AUSTON MATTHEWS SCORES!!!!!! Em Vee Pee from Marner and Tavares who were both behind the net. Electric scenes from the home crowd as Matthews doubled the lead.

Campbell made his first big stop midway through the second period on the power play with Mikheyev in the box. AHHH OH MY GOD!

3-0

DAVID KÄMPF SCORES A SHORTY!!!!!!! Only two goals all of last year, Kämpf has his first of the postseason to add to his 11 in the regular season.

Lyubushkin with another penalty and the Leafs to the power kill. Campbell made another great save on Brayden Point in the bumper position. Brodie with the rebound protection.

Phew. The Leafs crowd jeered Stamkos with some chanting after this.

4-0

MITCH MARNER IS BACK!!!!!!!!! An unreal back pass from Rielly set the whole Bolts team on their heels. Marner made a quick deke to the outside, fooling Vasilevskiy all the way out of his net. Mitch then just went the other way and potted home an astonishing fourth goal in the game — his second point.

After Two

Katya called the Leafs play across the board — not just the goals — to be simply spectacular in these first two periods. The Leafs played like a real, honest, contender. Three more goals, and excellent play from all 17 skaters and Jack in net.

All Situations Stats:
Shot Share: 19-24
Scoring Chances: 12-20
Expected Goals: 50%

Third Period

Engvall and Kaše almost connected early. Matthews and Marner connected a couple minutes later. Two great chances early from the Leafs, who were still playing hard to start the third period.

5-0

OH MY GOD IT’S FIVE!! Auston Matthews got another one on a dump in gaffe from the Lightning. Kaše threw the puck in after a long shift, Matthews was coming up the far side, beat both Bolts defenders to the puck, and Vasilevskiy who was way out of his net. It’s a rout!

Then there was a line brawl that we didn’t see during a commercial. Maroon, Perry, Bellemare, Rutta, and Hedman vs. Simmonds, Blackwell, Kaše, Lyubushkin, and Rielly. A few guys got bloodied, Perry got ejected (no surprise), and lots of folks calling each other dirty.

Liljegren was this close to scoring on the four-minute power play.

Ballgame.

Three Stars

Third Star: a 16-way tie for the entire roster

I couldn’t pick just one player, or even a line in this game to raise above the rest. The entire team played impressively well. A consistent, hard-working, diligent, passionate, fiery, confident, refreshing, contender performance from these lads. Matthews, Nylander, Kerfoot, Kaše, Engvall, Muzzin, Brodie, Liljegren, Tavares, everyone.

Second Star: Jack Campbell

A handful of huge saves when the Leafs needed it, got the shutout. An outstandingly quiet opening performance from Soup.

First Star: Mitch Marner

A step above the rest, on the penalty kill, at 5v5, and on the power play. He’s proving the critics (me) wrong by showing that he can be a dominant force in the playoffs. Excellent, excellent hockey game from this man.