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Maple Leafs make fools of themselves vs Lightning

Won’t Get Fooled Again is not the Leafs theme song, either.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four
Best part of the game, by a mile.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Three-to-one or two-all seems so dramatically different, but it’s the same 25% of a series win as every other game.

First Period

The Lightning start hitting, holding the Leafs in their own zone, and no one has a zone exit solution.

Stamkos takes a big shot that goes right through everyone, mostly Jack Campbell with one minute played.

1-0 Lightning

Blame Justin Holl if you like, it’s so trendy, but the entire team actually has to be able to get control of the puck and transition up the ice, no matter how hard the other guys hit.

Every single Leafs player is getting knocked flat when he has the puck. Somehow in all that, the Leafs still get one good scoring play going.

Oh, yeah. This is going really well, everyone. The Leafs are positioned okay, but aren’t at all quick on the puck, and a bounce out goes right in past Campbell.

2-0 Lightning

Pierre-Édouard Bellemare is quick on the puck, and he gets rewarded.

Pat Maroon sneaks in behind Morgan Rielly, who is busy not handling the puck well, and away he goes and puts it right past Campbell on the rebound.

3-0 Lightning

So, uh, all the Leafs defenders are crappy today? That might be a problem.

Jason Spezza immediately takes a penalty to make this worse.

So, lest you decide this is all the bounces or this or that defenceman, or Jack Campbell, this is the heatmap thus far:

That’s two minutes shy of half the period, and that is the Leafs playing like warmed over shit. All of them.

Brayden Point with a cross-crease move that nearly adds to the score, but the PK is the usual quality.

Campbell has to make a big save as the defence in front of him ineffectually chops at the puck.

With only five minutes left, the Leafs are starting to look like a pro hockey team, not five random guys in white sweater.

Nice little bit of red-faced gamesmanship to give the Leafs a common enemy to focus on.

The Lightning take a penalty late in the first, and I don’t hate the power play.

The Lightning get a rush chance, and Ondřej Kaše does... nothing, but Nick Paul falls down, and somehow they both go off? I don’t think there’s a penalty there to anyone.

Ref had his arm up and sent them both to save face.

The Leafs will have most of that four-on-four time in the second.

Thoughts

  • I just want to emphasize that the Lightning did all the hitting and had all the possession in the first 10 minutes.
  • Now that the Leafs have dug this giant hole, the play has to be to give the golden shifts to the Matthews line to try to score
  • On the bright side, making this mess so early leaves lots of time for cleanup

Second Period

Mitch Marner on the ice for the rest of the four-on-four, of course. The Leafs don’t do anything good other than the great defence by Rielly when Marner gives the puck away.

Whoa, Point just weaves through the entire set of moribund Leafs players, but Campbell makes his second big save of the period.

And frankly, anyone could see this coming. No one on the Leafs has a grip on this game. Ross Colton gets by Ilya Lyubushkin and Campbell just flubs it.

4-0 Lightning

John Tavares takes the penalty by coming near a guy allergic to gravity, and puts the Leafs on the PK again.

David Kämpf puts the puck over the glass, giving the Lightning a five-on-three.

Guess who scores? Guess, just guess.

5-0 Lightning

Leafs, you suck. Leafs, you suck. Leafs, you suck.

Leafs take another penalty, ironically Kaše on Paul. So, let’s see: the goal only erased the Tavares penalty, and Kämpf is still in the box, so it’s a five-on-three again with a regular power play after, but it’s a four-minute high-sticking penalty.

At the same time Erik Källgren is getting ready to come in, but he hasn’t yet come in. I don’t know, man, don’t ask me.

Mitch Marner takes a tripping call, and Victor Hedman goes too. It’s four-on-four, anyway.

Källgren finally does come in after Campbell advocates to stay in. I agree with the broadcast that for player rest reasons, he should come out.

You know I like to be honest. I’m not really watching. I’m listening the Who do Won’t Get Fooled Again live.

See, the Leafs tried for a bit, and it didn’t work out so they went back to the not trying:

I’m putting in a similar effort at the moment, but I genuinely cannot keep up with all the penalties, this has stopped being a hockey game.

Well, thank goodness, that period is over.

Thoughts

  • There’s not one good player here. No passing, no exits, no defence, no offence, no goaltending, no nothing
  • Can the third be worse?

Third Period

I’m keeping an open mind that the Leafs will appear to be less accursed this period due to the glory of score effects.

Goal!

Nylander with a lovely tip while Tavares is working the crease.

5-1 Lightning

As an example, not an attempt to be exhaustive in chronicling the penalties in this game, here is one:

In lieu of analysis, I’m going to tell you a thing I noticed in the first period. But first, you have to know a little about speed skating. In long-track particularly, you can see a skater lose their concentration in the way their body straightens up. They start skating upright.

That’s how they Leafs looked in period one and through most of this game. For hockey players, they don’t just lose posture that leads to speed, they lose their deep edges that allow for rapid lateral movement, and they end up chasing the play.

Why though? In speed skating it’s fatigue, and you have to learn to mind over body your way through it. In hockey... it looks like mass psychosis or total amnesia about how to play the game. Nothing is going right, so I don’t know what to do.

Or it’s fatigue, who knows? You can always make up a story if you like.

Ohhhh, another gorgeous goal from Nylander and Tavares.

5-2 Lighting

Really, fantastic play there.

Keefe pulls Källgren super early which is the correct call, and will upset all the people who should never go to Vegas when the most probable outcome occurs.

And it does:

6-2 Lightining

Muzzin doesn’t want this game to end for some reason:

6-3 Lightning

And then Rielly and Point have the world’s shortest, sharpest fight. Which... good lord, guys, there’s almost four minutes left.

The Lightning get another ENG, and I’m refusing to post these now.

7-3 Lightning

But the empty net is not better than Campbell was tonight, confirmed.

Sigh, there’s pushing and shoving, and so many people have soooo much to say here. I bet it’s scintillating.

Thoughts

The Leafs validate all my priors. No really! This game is a gift to the pontification business. Everyone was bad, so everything you or I have ever said on the negative side about anyone is correct. We are gloriously right, and that one player is just the guy who is at fault!

Next game is Tuesday at home.