Perhaps the Bolts spent yesterday fishing? I can’t be sure, though they got sockeyed by the Leafs tonight. It was a stunning reversal from the Leafs game Tuesday against the Panthers, which they lost 7-2.

I swear, this recap won’t sole-ly be puns, but, I’m sure we can all agree the Leafs filleted the Bolts in tonight’s game.

Make no mis-skate the Bolts are severely depleted from injury. Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov; only some of the names out of the line-up tonight from injury. It’s so bad for Tampa right now they had to call for reinforcements from the Syracuse Crunch, noted nemesis of the Marlies. One of those called up was Byron Froese, the Marlies player sent to the Lightning system in last month’s trade for Brian Boyle.

Still, the Lightning weren’t run over in this game. In fact, they were anything but. They had great chances at Frederik Andersen through most of the game, especially the first and third periods.  Someone may have thought it would be worse than it was.

[7:56 PM]  katyaknappe This game is going to be 8-7.

So sorry, Katya.

But, yes, Andersen had to stand on his head a few times, especially when Nikita Kucherov or Brayden Point were around, to keep the Bolts off the scoreboard. The Leafs even gifted Tampa a 5-on-3 at the end of the second and they couldn’t turn it into a goal.

Look at this raw, all-situations Corsi graph of the game.

This does not show the Leafs dominating anything. Whether at even strength, on a power play, or penalty kill, the Leafs couldn’t stop the offence for all but the first half of the first period.

Jake Gardiner had a notably bad game. While there were a few moments he defended well, it’s hard to get past a 15.38CF% at 5-on-5 (per Natural Stat Trick)

All that being said, it was a weird game for a stats watcher. Obviously, when you are up 5-0, time on ice goes a bit wonky in the third period. It turns out the JvR-Bozak-Marner line was one of the least deployed through the night. Roman Polak was out there the most of all defenders.

In any case, the Leafs still did win 5-0. They even chased Andrei Vasilevskiy from the net, with Peter Budaj coming in relief.

[9:15 PM]  elseldo someone take the PPP account away before the site turns into star trek fan fic

[9:16 PM] achariya hell no it's the best thing about this game

I could go over a play by play recap of the game here, but, frankly, a lot of the game was kind of dry, with the Leafs trying to wait out their huge goal lead. They really were bad defensively at times, but, they pulled that off.

After the debacle in the last game, I say, let’s forget the play-by-play and go straight to the good stuff.





[The NHL does not yet acknowledge this goal exists, and, hey, who can blame them? Matt Martin scoring? Did it really happen?]


JvR [best goal of the night IMHO]

The Leafs are back in action on Saturday at home vs. the Blackhawks. That game’s going to be a tough challenge, but, for now, the Leafs can enjoy being back in a playoff slot.