It was the worst of times, and then, frankly, it got even worse.
The Leafs started out well, and then deteriorated while Tampa controlled the play. But Ilya Samsonov and Tampa's poor shot quality combined to give the better team through 58 minutes a one goal lead. Ryan O'Reilly tied it up and then it was a whole new game: Overtime.
And it was the other Rielly. Morgan the hero of this game in the first overtime. Here's how it happened:
In the first period, the two team traded goals and ended the period tied at two all.
We start with some knice cookies:
Tampa gets it back:
Mitch Marner puts his entire being into a shot that Auston Matthews plinks into the net for him.
TJ Brodie takes a penalty he shouldn't be taking:
And then Nikita Kucherov shows you who he is:
Oh no! A Justin Holl rush, I must act! The guy has to be very frustrating to have on your team. Kucherov, I mean.
The Leafs kill a John Tavares penalty (also not a good one to be taking) and then this slippery little number gets by Ilya Samsonov:
The Lightning had the puck a lot more than the Leafs at five-on-five, but they mostly shot it from the point. As opposed to Point shooting it. But on the power play, where they didn't score, they were really good. Expected Goals aren't destiny is the lesson of this series.
The Leafs needed to control the puck more, and they very much did not for the first half of this period. They held on. That's about all you can say for it. The second half was better, and yet the Lightning got the only goal.
It's really easy to fall for the idea that Ryan O'Reilly is the only forward who can centre a line in this game, but take a deep breath and remember the line matching gives him the easiest ride. But his line is cooking while the rest of the team is eating cold beans out of a can.
Matt Knies ends up out with the Tavares line and fails here at his best event – winning board battles. And then you see his biggest weakness in that he doesn't know what to do next. This is a very fixable weakness, so it's only situationally painful.
McCabe was really not on the ball here either.
Tampa gets their first lead of the game and it holds through the full period, 3-2 Lighting.
Still more volume than quality from the Lightning, but they had even more volume in the second.
Oh, and a knice try:
Let's just skip the opening five minutes where not much happened.
The ref called a major on Morgan Rielly, but the situation room knocked it down to nothing.
Point returned to the bench after a few minutes and played again, missing about five minutes. He was clutching his chest after he crashed into the boards, so that might have been the wind knocked out of him, and that looks bad when it isn't.
Everyone got mad, the Leafs had a power play, no one scored, and all of that was a waste of time, really. Then both these dumb teams, with their top guys in the box, fiddle around for an extra five minutes, leaving them stuck in there.
Sheldon Keefe goes for Matthew Knies, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. If this was a science fiction show, it would be called fanservice.
Okay, so what I said about ROR not being the greatest? He is:
Shots for (Corsi, not SOG) were one off from even in the third.
Mostly I watched overtime, so you get very limited description: