Tonight we saw it first hand: Boucher's system works.
The key: coming in from the start and playing the way they practice. Stephen Stamkos said it after the game:
"We focused on that five man picture where we're surrounding the puck at all times. When you look, a lot of our goals were because we did a great job on the defense. We got the puck out, went down, and scored."
Tampa Bay started off with an impressive five on three penalty kill, when penalties to Steven Stamkos (goalie interference) and Nate Thompson (tripping) resulted in an early 5 on 3 in favor of the Leafs. The start was, arguably, one of the year's best, as Tampa Bay came off the 5 on 3 to set the tone that lasted the entire game.
To goaltender Dan Ellis, the momentum was the difference.
"We came out flying. That was the most important thing. We killed off that five on three, and that was a huge momentum burst for us. Killing that off allowed us to get our feet back underneath us. We had a lot of speed in the first period, and that's what allowed us to set the tone."
Boucher's thoughts on Stamkos and more after the jump.
The momentum paid off, as Steven Stamkos opened the scoring with power play goal, assisted by Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. Within minutes, Nate Thompson followed up with another, assisted by Mike Lundin and Dana Tyrell for Thompson's first goal of the season. Tampa Bay finished the first period with a third goal from center Dominic Moore to finish the first period 3-0 in favor of the Lightning.
The Lightning rallied against the Leafs in the second, and continued their presence into the third, where Stamkos notched another goal on a rebound from a shot by Mattias Ohlund.
With two goals from Stamkos, he's on his way to becoming a consistent player on all sides of the ice. Guy Boucher commented on the way Stamkos has improved since Saturday's loss to San Jose.
"I think Stammer wanted to change the way he played the last game. He wasn't very defensively aware last game, and that's not like him. What I think is great is his way of wanting to be just perfect. When he's not, he's not happy. He proved that he rebounded. He was great at the other details of the game and the scoring is the result of all that process."
Also to be celebrated is goaltender Dan Ellis, who shut out Toronto's 28 shots on goal.
"Nothing short of outstanding. [Ellis] looked very confident, composed, poised. He shows what he can do when he is on his game," said Dominic Moore on Ellis' game.
Up Next: The Lightning hit the road tomorrow morning to travel to D.C, where they will face the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Thursday, November 11 at 7:00 PM. There will be a game thread, as always, so be sure to join us for classy, insightful commentary while you watch.
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