The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 7-3, on Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
The Lightning started the game strong and never gave up the lead, piling on four goals before the Toronto Maple Leafs finally got on the board, despite being heavily outshot the entire game.
It took all of one minute, 19 seconds for the Bolts to get on the board. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos once again disappointed Leafs fans by registering his fourth goal of the season. As the Leafs attempted to chip the puck out of the zone, Lightning defender Andrej Sustr batted the puck down and ripped it to Stamkos, who was all alone in front of goaltender Frederik Andersen. Sustr registered his first point of the season on a very good play at the blue line.
Then, nearly six minutes later at 7:15, Alex Killorn buried his fifth goal of the season after Braydon Coburn fired a shot from the point, which dribbled behind Andersen. While lying on the ground, Killorn swept the puck into the back of the net. Rookie forward Brayden Point got his third assist of the season on the goal.
Stamkos added to his goal total by ripping a laser past Fredrik Andersen at 17:12, loudly ringing the puck off the post. Andrej Sustr notched his second point of the season, and Nikita Kucherov earned his fourth assist.
Ben Bishop did his part in keeping the Lightning in the game, including a marvelous save on Connor Brown on a Maple Leafs power play at the end of the first period.
About midway through the second period, Victor Hedman nearly extended the Bolts’ lead to four goals. But Morgan Rielly made a diving play that deflected the puck just as Hedman took the shot. Had Rielly not been there, the shot would have ended up in the back of a virtually empty net. It was just 16 seconds later that Hedman, Stamkos and Kucherov combined for the fourth goal of the game at 7:23.
There was a scary moment at 13:22 of the period when Bishop took a heavy shot from Peter Holland off the mask. The on-ice officials immediately whistled the play dead and medical staff attended to Bishop. A close look on the television screens showed Bishop without his top front teeth, perhaps from the impact of the shot against his mask. The Lightning goaltender remained in the game, though.
At the end of the second period, the Toronto Maple Leafs seemed to gain some momentum. With Nikita Nesterov in the box for holding the stick of William Nylander, Nylander made him pay with the Leafs’ first goal of the game. The goal, scored at 19:03, came on the heels of some great movement by the Toronto power play unit. Nazem Kadri and young phenom Auston Matthews registered the assists.
Nikita Kucherov finally took a sigh of relief as he notched his first goal of the season early in the third period. At 6:45, Kucherov released a perfect shot on a pass by Stamkos. Vlad Namestnikov earned his second assist of the season on the goal.
The Leafs began to claw their way back into the game with the help of a tip-in goal by James Van Riemsdyk in front of Bishop. The goal, scored at 8:28, was assisted by Nikita Zaitsev and Morgan Rielly.
Just over a minute later, Lightning fans began to sweat a little bit as Auston Matthews put the Maple Leafs within two goals. The goal at 9:47 came off a bad turnover by the Lightning, who perhaps grew a little passive with their large lead.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, however, pulled away once again with the help of a rejuvenated power play, scoring two more goals to put the game out of reach.
Namestnikov put away a nice goal after Anton Stralman got the puck to the net. When Andersen failed to cover it, Namestnikov picked up the puck and quickly shoveled it in at 15:10. The secondary assist went to Tyler Johnson.
Finally, Jonathan Drouin sent a blistering shot from the circle past Andersen to give us the final score of 7-3 just 46 seconds later. Nikita Kucherov once again earned an assist on the goal.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to capitalize on the momentum of the first two wins of this road trip when they take on the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
· Victor Hedman earned his 50th career goal tonight.
· The Bolts went 2/4 on the power play.
· The Maple Leafs heavily outshot the Bolts, with the shots registering 43-24.
· Kucherov and Stamkos both earned four points.
· The Leafs dominated in the faceoff circle, winning 65% of faceoffs.
· Bishop’s lost teeth were real.