It is fitting that the only goals in regulation were scored by Steven Stamkos and Auston Matthews, the two best shooters in the game (NHL?).
Overtime decided a contest of intense, grinding effort from every player on both teams.
This is how it happened:
Tampa takes the first flurry of offence, and then the game turns into a familiar looking grind.
Steven Stamkos takes a tripping call on William Nylander to give the Leafs the first power play, and in the fullness of time we get some Erik Gustafsson on the second unit. His notable contribution is sprawling to block a rush chance against.
The Leafs have a period of intense sustained pressure after the power play, centred around Auston Matthews.
Leafs get another power play on a tripping call on Nikita Kucherov.
Leafs get it going, until Alex Killorn jumps on a loose puck, but Sammy has it, and the rebound.
I note that Nylander is back on PP1, where anyone at all even passingly familiar with his game would think he belongs. Ryan O'Reilly moves to the (really very useless) PP2.
No score in the first, the first goal-less period of the series.
Less than 30 seconds in, Luke Schenn takes a penalty on Stamkos, that anyone who saw the uncalled trip on Kerfoot vs Stamkos earlier knew was coming.
Timothy Liljegren gets on the ice with 20 seconds left in the power play. I don't know why he's even in this game if it wasn't for serious PK usage. He played 2:52 seconds in the first period.
The Lightning hem the Leafs' pants, and then the Leafs return the favour.
*So. Iput this asterisk in at the time the Leafs turned it on right here during the flurry of offence I mentioned below. And this is the moment when I said outloud: You can. You can do this. I believe you will do this. And so they did.
Massive Leafs shift full of Leafs offence in a Leafs fashion.
Liljegren with one of his classic shots off the point on a play from Matt Knies.
Scooooooooooooooooores. AUSTON MATTHEWS.
There was a moment in the cycle that preceded this goal where Mitch Marner just feathered a gentle pass and then Matthews did the same shortly after. No panic hard passes that bounce, pure and total confidence in their skill.
The Lightning come on like, well, a storm. And the result is a leafs penalty on Anthony Cirelli.
Stamkos gets two good shots and Sammy gets one and the post the other.
Liljegren with 3:02 in that one.
Leafs lead 1-0 after two.
Not going to lie, this is very hard to think of anything to say right now.
Stamkos evens it up right after he starts playing with Cirelli and Killorn. (Man, I remember when every Lightning fan hated Killorn.)
Spectacularly bad defensive coverage there by the third pair. If I'm saying maybe just play Liljegren, maybe just play Liljegren.
Geez, I just looked at the clock and it's under four minutes to play. We're in OT now.
Stamkos with a hard shot off the knee, and he just said some bad words on the bench.
Some Tampa player tried selling a penalty on Brodie and then flipped his lid at the ref. Honey, you'd need to be dead to get a call in the dying seconds of an elimination game going to OT. Suck it up.
In other news, we have always been in overtime with Tampa Bay. It's double plus good.
I just made this amazing noise, y'all. Holy shit, boys.
We're going to round two.