Connect with us


Trio of players reach milestones in a pivotal win over Toronto

As the push for the playoffs continued a clash with division foes awaits in a game that saw milestones for a few Lightning players. After being outplayed for the first two periods, Tampa regrouped in the third to take over the game. Andrei Vasilevskiy remained sharp in net to help contain the Leafs offense. Nikita Kucherov kept raking in the points and helped the offense take over the game. With less than a dozen games left every game matter and tonight was no exception. Getting the two points were crucial and the Lightning were able to pick the points up. The team also edged closer to the Maple Leafs in the standings.


Scoring on a delayed penalty

It took a while for either team to get the offense going with no shots on goal in the first few minutes of the game. Early on Toronto went on the power play which the Lightning were able to kill off. Maple Leafs were dangerous on that man-advantage and had a couple of great shots on net but were able to open up the scoring. A defensive battle followed after the penalty was killed off with only three shots on goal total. All of those shots were from Toronto with the help of the power play. However, Lightning scored on their first shot on net. A penalty was to be called and on said delayed penalty Victor Hedman gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead. Brandon Hagel’s assist on the goal gave him his 200th career point.

Matthews adds to his goal total

Later on, Lightning this time went on the power play and looked to extend their lead. Despite scoring Tampa constantly gave the puck up when exiting their zone which has been a common trend this season. Toronto still could not take advantage of the turnovers and instead gave the Lightning another power play with 3:35 left in the period. After that penalty expired Toronto went on the power play and took advantage this time. Auston Matthews added to his impressive goal total to tie the game 1-1 with a power play goal. Period ended after that with the score remaining even at 1.

Kucherov sets a new career high

Starting off, Toronto gets a power play in the opening minute of the second period. Lightning had to play smarter hockey to prevent the Maple Leafs from fully taking over. Penalty was killed off and game eased up for a bit. Then, Brayden Point gave Tampa Bay the lead. After a face-off win Nikita Kucherov gave the puck to Point who was left all alone. Lightning took the 2-1 lead and with an assist on the Point goal Kucherov achieved a career high with his 129th point.

Taking advantage of a failed pass

Next, Steven Stamkos took advantage of a 2-on-1 chance and beat Joseph Woll 5 hole to extend the lead 3-1. The odd man rush occurred after a missed pass by Toronto went the other way and Lightning made them pay for it. Afterwards, Toronto had a chance to get a goal back with their 4th power play of the night. Lightning again killed it off keeping the score 3-1. Maple Leafs never put on the brakes and continued to apply pressure on offense. This should not be a surprise with how much firepower they have up front. Andrei Vasilevskiy continued to be a brick wall and that has been a big reason why Toronto only has the one goal. 4-on-4 hockey was played to end the second period which had Tampa keep the two-goal lead.


Keeping the momentum from going the other way

Compared to the last period, the beginning of the third was stale. That did not last long after Tanner Jeannot and Ryan Reaves drop the gloves and both were sent off for fighting. No extra penalties were called so it remained 5-on-5. For only the third time tonight Lightning went on the power play with five minutes gone in the third. Leafs killed off the penalty keeping the score 3-1 with just over half the period remaining. It took a while for either team to get a good chance on net as the second half of the period was on the horizon.

Playing smarter and keeping the lead

At this point, Lightning just wanted to keep a hold of the two-goal lead as best as possible. To this point Leafs only had two shots on net and this was the best control of the puck Tampa had all night. Next, Nick Paul scored his 20th goal of the season to extend the lead 4-1. This was the first time Paul scored 20 goals in a season after scoring a career high 17 goals last season with the Lightning. They now had a comfortable lead with 5 minutes to go and continued to dominate the period. Woll was not pulled to get the extra attacker on as the Leafs saw there was no point in doing so. All in all, Lightning went on to defeat the Leafs 4-1 and the magic number to clinch a playoff berth is now 4.


Three stars of the game

1st Star: Nikita Kucherov – 3 assists

2nd Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Saved 28 of 29 shots faced

3rd Star: Brandon Hagel – 2 assists

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *