Lightning power outage the difference in 4-3 loss to the Leafs

Oh, and the Toronto goalie was okay as well.

Lightning power outage the difference in 4-3 loss to the Leafs
Steven Stamkos. Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via their Twitter (@TBLightning)

Whelp. If tonight's game is any indication as to what the first round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs will bring, sales of antacids are going to skyrocket in the Big Guava and the Big Smoke. A Ryan O'Reilly goal 12:33 into the third period proved to be the difference as the Leafs defeated the Lightning 4-3 on a night where the home crowd celebrated Steven Stamkos' 1,000 games played in the NHL.

William Nylander, Luke Schenn (!), and Calle Jarnkrok also scored for Toronto while Alex Killorn, Nick Perbix, and Mikhail Sergachev scored for Tampa Bay. Joseph Woll was the star for the road team as the emergency call-up stopped 46 of 49 shots from the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the loss while making 20 saves on 24 shots.

In a penalty-filled game, it was the Leafs that scored twice on their six power plays while the Lightning went 0-for-8 with the extra skater. While many of the power plays were truncated the Bolts still had 12 shots and 6 high-danger chances in 9:19 of time with the extra skater and couldn't solve Woll on the night.

The penalties started early as Alex Killorn took a cross checking infraction just 11 seconds into the game. The Lightning killed off all 11 seconds before Morgan Reilly went for interference. That started a trend that lasted all night with the two teams trading penalties back and forth. It was on a power play that Toronto drew first blood.

William Nylander, who was all over the ice in the absence of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, snuck one through Vasilevskiy, who might have been expecting the former Tampa resident to pass the puck from the angle he was at.

Just over a minute later, the Lightning responded as Alex Killorn (who had been in the box for the Nylander goal) tipped home a shot from Mikhail Sergachev to equalize the score. The Lightning were skating with speed and pushing the play and it seemed like Pat Maroon, who had been in the training room following an awkward spill against the boards, had given them the lead in his first shift back on the ice.

Unfortunately, as the Tweet says, the goal was overturned as the referees ruled that Corey Perry had interfered with Woll prior to the goal. Like saltwater in an open cut, the Leafs scored just 18 seconds after the overturned goal. Not only did they score, it was old friend Luke Schenn that scored, recording his first goal in a Leafs uniform since 2012.

Tempers were running high all game and Maroon and Schenn dropped the gloves. Another scrum ensued at the end of the period after Sergachev dropped Tavares with a solid check.

As play rolled into the middle frame there was a scrum after just about every whistle and the refs started calling penalties on players for their actions. Not including the five minute majors handed out to Perry and Michael Bunting for their fight, there were six separate penalties called.

So it was only fitting that Nick Perbix equalized the game with an even strength goal. His fifth goal of the season snapped a 32-game goalless streak for the rookie. Unfortunately it was Jarnkrok's goal at the 16:56 mark that turned the tide of the game. The Lightning had been pushing the play for the entire period and then with Matthew Knies in the box, Nikita Kucherov and Michael Eyssimont took back-to-back penalties. With the Leafs on a 4-on-3 advantage a shot from Nylander was deflected off of Tavares' stick, then his skate, and Vasilevskiy still made the save. However, the puck came back to Tavares and he was able to pass it to Jarnkrock who roofed it into the net.

Two more power plays for the Lightning went by the wayside and it seemed like Toronto had sealed things when Nylander (who finished with 3 points) stole the puck from Victor Hedman, fed it to the rookie Knies whose shot trickled through Vasilevskiy. O'Reilly was there to bump it over the goal line for the two goal lead.

Still, the Lightning weren't done as the Leafs had their own mental breakdown and turned the puck over to Mikhail Sergachev who drilled home his 10th goal of the season over the glove of Woll.

The Lightning fought for the tying goal over the next six minutes as they had the final 7 shots on goal. There were also another 13 attempts for the Bolts that were blocked or went wide. Even with a 6-on-4 advantage for the last 1:57 of the game, Tampa Bay couldn't find the late magic to tie the game. Three times the puck went through the crease but couldn't find a friendly stick to bounce off and into the goal. One final shot from the slot by Brayden Point was stopped by Woll and the horn sounded.

Compared to the previous three losses, there was a lot to like from the Lightning's performance tonight. They were engaged. They skated well and generated a ton of chances. They were credited with 81 shot attempts and 40 scoring chances. On most nights, that kind of performance will generate a win.

Still, they had too many turnovers (at least two of the Leafs' goals were the result of bad plays in the defensive zone). The inability to get rebounds on Woll was frustrating, especially with the amount of initial shots they generated. It also appeared that their forward corps picked up another injury as Pat Maroon didn't return after the first period.

When the two teams meet again, the Lightning will have to find a way to make the special teams work. With Marner, Matthews, and Mark Giordano back in the line-up for Toronto, things won't be so easy at 5v5. Still, it was good to see some passion from the Bolts in the penultamate game of the season. Hopefully, that will carry over into their finale against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday and translate into a win.

The Goals:

William Nylander (Ryan O'Reilly, Calle Jarnkrok) 1-0 Leafs

Alex Killorn (Mikhail Sergachev, Steven Stamkos) 1-1

Luke Schenn (Noel Acciari) 2-1 Leafs

Nick Perbix (Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point) 2-2

Calle Jarnkrok (John Tavares, William Nylander) Power Play 3-2 Leafs

Ryan O'Reilly (Matthew Knies, William Nylander) 4-2 Leafs

Mikhail Sergachev (unassisted) 4-3 Leafs