Game 5 Recap: Lightning hold lead and survive another night

Game 5 Recap: Lightning hold lead and survive another night
Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via Twitter

The Tampa Bay Lightning got the lead in the second period and held onto it through a nail-biting third to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in Game 5 of their first round series. The Lightning have now cut the series deficit to 3-2 in favor of the Leafs.

New flight itinerary just dropped: two planes from Toronto to Tampa Bay. Game 6 is on Saturday night.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 of 30 in a bounceback victory. Vasy is known to heat up in the latter stages of each series, so he's an indicator the Lightning are not out of this by a long shot. Ilya Samsonov allowed three goals on 37 shots as the Lightning carried the play most of the way. It was not a good night for Samsonov as he allowed a stinker and had poor rebound tracking throughout.

Anthony Cirelli and Michael Eyssimont each had a goal and an assist in the win, with Eyssimont scoring the second goal for the Lightning in the second and assisting on Nick Paul's game-winning goal in the third in his return to the lineup after missing three games due to an injury. He replaced Tanner Jeannot in the lineup. Alex Killorn scored the empty-netter to seal the game at the end.

The Leafs got goals from Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews. Rielly opened the scoring and Matthews scored with three minutes to go to tighten the 3-1 game at the time.

It was a low-penalty game as the referees only called two penalties for each team – neither team scored on the power play. They honestly could have called more but chose to keep their arms down in the third period. Nevertheless, the Lightning came away with the victory.

The stat that jumped out to me was the number of giveaways by the Leafs in this game. 19. They clearly struggled to get through the Lightning in the neutral zone and were forced to dump the puck in a lot. Giveaways also led to Nick Paul's game winner.

The Lightning carried 60% of the shot share and forced the Leafs into endless icings for long stretches of the game. They also had 55% of the expected goals. The Lightning did the bulk of their work in the first two periods, leading in shots 20-12 and 23-13 across 40 minutes and then held the Leafs to an even 12-12 at 5v5 in the third. The Leafs turned it on with the extra skater, but with a two-goal deficit late, it was enough for the Lightning to hold on.

First Period


Rielly opened the scoring with a shot from the slot after Tavares shot the puck into the zone but it hit the official. He got his own rebound and threw the puck into the open slot. Knies got a touch on it but couldn't corrale it, but Rielly did and scored.


Cirelli immediately tied up the game on the next shift with this rebound goal in front. Tony did great to take the puck from his own zone and create an outlet with Killorn, then made a beeline right to the front of the net and secured the rebound.

After One

A fast, exciting opening period where both teams came away with a goal. I'd say both teams walked away from that period happy with their play and confident in what they can do the rest of the way. The middle six for the Lightning looked more alive in the desperation, elimination game.

Second Period


Eyssimont stunned Samsonov with this bad angle shot. I guess Samsonov thought the puck was going through the blue paint? But he just fumbled it and gave Eyssimont his second goal with the Lightning.

After Two

Maroon late hit on Giordano and penalty to start the second. It resulted only in a two-minute power play, and Giordano returned for the third period. Also in the second, the Leafs lost Knies who blocked a Raddysh shot with the inside of his leg. He also returned for the third.

Third Period

The Lightning did very well on the penalty kill to start the third, allowing four shots but taking five as they ran all around the Leafs zone.


Pauly gave the Bolts their all-important cushion with a rebound in front as Samsonov was caught swimming. Colton and Eyssimont got the assists.

Oh yeah, and Vasy made THIS save with his elbow, pushing the puck forward out of the net somehow.

Marner hit the post in the final minutes with the extra skater out. The puck cleared itself off the post and Hagel had a chance to ice it, but he also hit the post on the empty net.


Matthews scored with three minutes to go to increase the clench/60.

The Lightning got away with one as Knies was high sticked in a scrum but the ref didn't make a call on Cole.


A last-second empty net goal added some points on the board and definitely, for sure, gave the Lightning the win. Killorn banged the dump in from Hedman, with Cirelli getting the extra assist.

Lightning win! They survive for another day and move to 5-1 in elimination games.