Lightning lose in overtime, 2-1

They battled until the end.

Lightning lose in overtime, 2-1
Pat Maroon. Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via their Twitter (@TBLightning)

Jonathan Tavares skated behind the Tampa Bay Lightning net, spun and blindly directed the puck at the net. Was it going wide? We'll never know as the puck glanced off of Darren Raddysh's skate and into the net. Just like that, the Toronto Maple Leafs had won their first elimination game in thirteen tries. For the first time since 2004 they advanced. For the first time since 2019, the Tampa Bay Lightning would not be playing the last game of the season as they were eliminated in the first round.

The Leafs won Game Six, 2-1 in overtime, making them 3-for-3 in overtime games on Lightning home ice in the series. Auston Matthews scored first. Steven Stamkos tied it in the third, and Tavares won it in overtime. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 saves while Ilya Samsonov scrambled to 31 saves on 32 shots.

The Lines:

Toronto went 11/7 with Michael Bunting in, Zach-Ashton Reese and Sam Lafferty out. Justin Holl was also scratched with Erik Gustsson and Timothy Liljegren making their series debut.

First Period:

The Lightning came out skating and driving play as they pushed the Leafs back into their zone for most of the first half of the period. They had Toronto chasing and Ilya Samsonov swimming around in his net, but it was a rush chance that almost elicited the first goal as Ross Colton sliced into the zone and tipped a pass from Nick Paul on net that forced a big save from the goaltender.

A couple of tripping penalties by the Lightning's top line in the offensive zone let Toronto catch their breath and get things set up. First it was Stamkos who was sent for a trip, but the Lightning killed that penalty rather easily. It was the 90 seconds after the power play where they got tangled up in their own zone, but Vasilevskiy made a calm post-to-post save on TJ Brodie.

Tampa Bay was doing an excellent job of cycling the puck around and came close to finding the back of the net. Samsonov was making the saves, but selling out to do so. If the Lightning could get to the rebounds first they would have had a couple of tap-in goals.

Another offensive zone penalty, this one by Nikita Kucherov, led to another power play where there two shots - both by the Lightning. Anthony Cirelli had a nice block on Auston Matthews that led to Alex Killorn getting a shot off the rush on Samsonov, the rebound came out to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the slot, but his shot was right into the bread basket.

Second Period:

The Lightning had the early power play as Luke Schenn was sent off for high-sticking just 23 seconds into the period. It was an okay power play with the Lightning getting three shots, but no pay dirt. Just after it expired, Michael Bunting put a rebound off of the crossbar.

Like they have done in previous games, the Leafs found their footing in the second period and started hemming the Lightning in on some long shifts. The Lightning responded when they had the chance by hounding pucks in the offensive zone. Killorn and Cirelli in particular were like two ferocious badgers digging for loose pucks. They just couldn't get that secondary pressure as Toronto was packing the slot area.

With Toronto amping up the pressure it was up to Vasilevskiy to keep things scoreless and he was up to the task. One of his best stops came on William Nylander who was alone in front on his backhand. Credit to Nick Perbix for getting just enough of the pass to slow it down and force Nylander to go to the backhand.

Sometimes the other team's best players just make a play. Auston Matthews was a beast on the shift that led up to the goal. He starts it with a shot off the rush, then gets free when Steven Stamkos blows a tire in coverage. Mikhail Sergachev had a chance to clear it, but TJ Brodie picked it off and with the Lightning scrambling for coverage, teed Matthews up and his shot beat Vasy cleanly.

Auston Matthews (TJ Brodie) 1-0 Maple Leafs

The Lightning needed a push back and it got it with a sustained shift from the Cirelli line. They didn't score, but Cirelli drew a tripping penalty and the power play came close, oh so close, to leveling the score. A feed to the right circle was right where Stamkos needed it and his shot was unleashed. And unlucky. It caught the nearside post and stayed out. A quick centering pass just a few seconds later slid unharmed through the crease and past Alex Killorn's stick. Toronto survived.

Third Period:

With twenty minutes left in their season, the Lightning came out with a hot start. Reminiscent of their first period, they tilted the ice in their favor. It wasn't fancy hockey, but frantic hockey.

In the final frame of an elimination game, everything is amplified. Every blocked shot, every clear, every tie up along the boards, it all means something. So do innocent shots from the blueline. Darren Raddysh floated a shot on goal that Samsonov knocked away. Unlike his other rebounds tonight, it found the stick of a Lightning player. Not just any Lightning player, but Steven Stamkos.

The post did not deny his intentions this time.

Steven Stamkos (Darren Raddysh, Anthony Cirelli) 1-1

Tie ball game.

The Lightning had clawed their way back into the game, now they had to find a way to go ahead, or at the very least, not slide back. Enter Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Matthews and Stamkos are both on the scoresheet with goals, but the leaders were also out there blocking shots. The Lightning are determined to show that their run isn't over. The Leafs are desperate to change the narrative. Everyone on the ice was doing what they needed to do to win.

Michael Eyssimont didn't pick up a goal or a point, but he made two big plays along the boards to force turnovers or hold up the Toronto rush to allow for a smooth line change.

Nick Paul had a chance when he knocked down a clearing puck, but Samsonov slid over to close off the opening. The goal horn stayed silent despite the teams best efforts and to overtime Game Six went (at even strength after a non-call at the death).


There is no such thing as a bad shot in overtime. Jonathan Tavares proved it. After an excellent job of maintaining the puck, Tavares spun, threw the puck towards the net. It hit Darren Raddysh's skate and changed direction just enough to slide inside the far post and into the back of the net.

Jonathan Tavares (Matthew Knies, Morgan Reilly) 2-1 Leafs

End of the game.

End of the series.

End of the Stanley Cup Finals streak.

It was a hell of a run, gentlemen. Rest up, load up, come back next year.