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Tampa Bay Lightning show composure in 6-2 win over Toronto Maple Leafs

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Lightning score on five deflection goals en route to win over Maple Leafs.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Toronto Maple Leafs
Mar 11, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81)is called for an interference penalty as he takes down Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Tyler Ennis (63) in the second period at Scotiabank Arena.
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

It was a big night for the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they jumped on the Toronto Maple Leafs early with a pair of goals and carried that momentum — without taking their foot off the gas once — en route to a 6-2 victory on the road. Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette scored two goals each, with Anthony Cirelli and Ondrej Palat joining in on the scoring action as well.

It wasn’t a super fancy performance by any means. To their credit, the Leafs did a good job of stopping Tampa Bay’s star players from getting any momentum offensively and kept them from getting to the front of the net with the puck. Instead, the Lightning improvised and used point shots leading to deflections to get most of their business done. With the generally weak defense corps of the Leafs playing without two of their better guys (Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott) the Lightning were able to exploit battles and weak areas in front of the net for chances.

Andrei Vasilevskiy faced two periods of competitive hockey, but by the 5-1 goal, the Leafs basically gave up. At the end of the day, Vasy stopped 25 of 27 for the win, his 32nd of the season.

First Period

Right as the game started, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet sent out a tweet indicating that the Leafs might have made a mistake when it came to their lineup for the game. Kasperi Kapanen was a late scratch and was replaced with Tyler Ennis. The official game sheet Johnston found still had Kapanen in the lineup. According to the NHL, Ennis would have been ineligible to play should his name not be on the scoresheet. Luckily for the Leafs, Johnston was able to dig up the revised lineup sheet that got the off ice officials seal of approval. No harm no foul. [Rule 5.1]

A list of names and numbers of all eligible players must be handed to the Official Scorer before the game, and no change shall be permitted in the list or addition thereto shall be permitted after the commencement of the game.

Prior to the game, if an official (on-ice or off-ice) notices that a player is in uniform but has not been included on the Official Game Report, the Referee shall bring this to the attention of the offending team so that the necessary correction can be made to the Official Game Report (and no penalty is assessed).

In terms of actual gameplay, the Lightning were the first to get a power play when Jake Muzzin clotheslined Ondrej Palat. Victor Hedman got a good chance from the top of the slot, but Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen was up to the task.

1-0

10 minutes into the game, the Bolts broke the tie off a faceoff win by Brayden Point. Ryan McDonagh sent a shot right off the big toe of Tyler Johnson, who redirected the puck perfectly through Andersen’s legs for the game’s opening goal. With the secondary assist, Nikita Kucherov hit 111 points on the season.

2-0

Anthony Cirelli would put another on the board for Tampa near the end of the period after he tipped home a Mikhail Sergachev point shot. Two “lucky” goals, but they both count!

After One

It was an all-around even period for the two teams. Despite the shot clock saying the Lightning were ahead in shots on goal 14-9, the more specific shot metrics told a much more even tale. At 5v5 the Lightning were slightly ahead of the Leafs ins shot attempts (18-16) and shots (12-9), with the Leafs leading in scoring chances (7-8).

Second Period

3-0

The Lightning got another goal near the beginning of the second when McDonagh came down the wing and wired a shot directly off Andersen’s mask. The puck deflected past Brayden Point and right onto the stick of Johnson, who slotted home his second goal of the game.

4-0

Again, off a faceoff, Braydon Coburn took a shot from the point and Palat deflected it in past Andersen. It’s almost like a formula at this point. Step one, win the faceoff. Step two, put someone in the low to mid slot. Step three, take a point shot and hope it hits someone’s butt. Shall we save this thought for the second round?

With that goal, Mike Babcock and the Leafs pulled Frederik Andersen in exchange for backup Garret Sparks. The Leafs have four games in six nights this week, so in addition to removing Andersen from the shame of giving up four goals, getting him some extra rest is a good idea as they chase the Boston Bruins.

4-1

The Leafs didn’t go down in the second period without a fight. Auston Matthews showed off some of his elite talent with a lightning quick dangle through the middle of the ice before sniping on Vasilevskiy. Gotta tip your hat on those goals.

5-1

The Leafs got a power play near the end of the period when Erik Cernak hauled down a Leaf in front of the net. His reaction to the call was pretty funny.

It was made more funny when the Leafs gave up two massive shorthanded chances to the Lightning. Both times, the forwards decided to leave Morgan Rielly, who was obviously overwhelmed by the number of forecheckers coming at him, all alone in the defensive zone. On the fifth goal for the Lightning, Yanni Gourde grabbed the puck from the corner, sent it back to Hedman, who passed it across to a wide open Cedric Paquette for a tap in.

After Two

If the first period blew the doors of this game open, the second demolished the foundation. The Leafs looked done after the fifth goal for the Lightning and it showed in the shot charts. The Lightning led in 5v5 shot attempts (20-16), shots (12-10), and scoring chances (6-0) in the second period. That scoring chance metric says a lot.

Third Period

6-1

Just like the formula said, the Lightning got the puck off a faceoff, took a shot from the point, and got a deflection in front. This time, Paquette won the faceoff to Jan Rutta. He passed to Yanni Gourde at the top of the circle before putting the puck wide to the far side. At that point, Paquette was battling in front of the net and was able to get his stick free to deflect the puck home.

Late in the game, Mathieu Joseph tripped up Nazem Kadri as the two raced for a puck in the neutral zone. Once again, the Lightning spent a little bit of time in the Leafs’ en route to killing off the penalty.

6-2

With 4.2 seconds left, Connor Brown found a rebound and scored an annoying second goal of the game. Bah!


Takeaways by Auston Matthews