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Back-and-forth game goes Maple Leafs way

Wayne Masut | Senior Staff Photographer

Tonight the Tampa Bay Lightning welcomed in the Toronto Maple Leafs. The last and only time these teams met this season, the Lightning won 4-1 in Tampa. That night Andrei Vasilevskiy also made 48 saves in his return from his injury that cost him 14 games. 

TAMPA BAY – Andrei Vasilevskiy faces off against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team that as of the opening face off was 16 points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning in the division standings. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has six points in his last four games. Meanwhile Nikita Kucherov has six points in his last five games.

Point close to matching goal total from last season

It didn’t take Brayden Point or the Lightning long to get a lead on the Maple Leafs. With the Bolts having the man advantage, Point is now tied with Boston’s David Pastrnak for the league lead in power play goals with 13 (As of when the goal happened). Point is now two goals away from matching his season point total from last season with 32. Stamkos would notch an assist on the goal for his 350th of his career.

That power play goal came near the midway point of the first, Toronto wouldn’t wait too long before tying it up. Exactly two minutes later Nazem Kadri would tie the game up on a round off Vasilevskiy. The goal ends Kadri’s 10 game goal-less streak. He has only registered two goals in his last 27 games entering tonight’s game.

Back and forth second period

When these two teams play, it is nothing short of entertaining and the second period was no exception. Heading into the second the Bolts and Leafs were tied 1-1. That tie last over 13 minutes before veteran Patrick Marleau put the Maple Leafs in the drivers seat for the first time in the game. Their lead wouldn’t last long at all though. Victor Hedman would take a drop pass from Kucherov in the slot and bury it to tie the game back up 2-2.

As per the usual for this game, the tie game wouldn’t last long. For the third time in 1:43 a goal would be scored. This time it was Mitch Marner who took advantage of a rare wide open net by Vasilevskiy to once again give the Leafs the lead 3-2. The Maple Leafs second lead of the period would hold through the end of the period as both teams headed to their locker rooms.

Andersen keeps the Leafs in it

It seemed that every time the Lightning got extended time in the Leafs zone goalie Frederik Andersen had an answer for every shot on net. As per every hockey article, the typical line will be used next. Without Andersen one could say the Lightning would be up by two or three goals instead of down by one. With Stamkos and Kucherov both having dangerous one-timers, Andersen was able to get some form of padding to stop the Lightning snipers. He is now 3-7-1 against the Lightning all time. Zach Hyman would add a questionable empty netter with about a minute left in the game. The Leafs would go on to win 4-2 over the Lightning.

Three Stars of the Game

1st Star – Frederik Andersen: Had an answer for the Lightning’s big guns every time they wound up to shoot.

2nd Star – Nazem Kadri: Got the Leafs started, while adding an assist

3rd Star – Mitch Marner: Gave the Maple Leafs the lead in the second, Andersen did the rest.

Up next

The Lightning will welcome in the San Jose Sharks on Saturday 1/19/19 at 7pm

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