TAMPA BAY-- Goalie Frederick Andersen made 36 saves, including 16 in the third period to help lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to their 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
The first shot on net for the game didn't take place until after three minutes were played in the first period. The Lightning actually recorded the first three shots of the game, with the best scoring chance coming from a wrist shot from center Steven Stamkos.
Nearly six minutes into the first period, the Maple Leafs went on the power play after a slashing penalty on forward Nikita Kucherov. And over a minute into the power play, the Maple Leafs picked up their first two shots on net for the game. The shots came in close, after a rush up the left side by forward Kasperi Kapanen. Kapanen got the first shot on Vasilevskiy. But the tougher of the two shots came from center John Tavares, who skated in front of Vasilevskiy & picked up a loose puck in front of the net. But the Lightning goalie was able to spread across & keep the puck out of the net.
After killing off the penalty, Tampa Bay got a power play chance of their own. But unlike Toronto, the home team took advantage of the man advantage when Point, positioned in front of the net, grabbed a loose puck after a shot by defenseman Victor Hedman & slammed the puck past Andersen for his 30th goal of the season.
That 1-0 lead lasted exactly two minutes because that's when the Maple Leafs with the help of another scoring chance created by Kapanen, ended with center Nazem Kadri putting the puck past Vasilevskiy.
Despite multiple scoring chances created by both teams because of their skating, the teams went into the first intermission tied at 1. But a couple of minutes into the second period, Tampa Bay had another chance at the man advantage. The Lightning were able to manage three shots on net during the two minutes but their best scoring chance in the first 10 minutes of the second came off the stick of forward Yanni Gourde. Gourde, from the left side of the net, tried to wrist a shot past Andersen but was denied.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes of the second period, both teams struggled to create scoring chances. But with over six minutes left in the period, the Maple Leafs started a string of three goals in less than two minutes. First forward Patrick Marleau broke the tie when he picked up a puck that deflected off a skate & slid a shot past Vasilevskiy. That 2-1 Toronto lead was short-lived because on a drop pass from Kucherov, Hedman skated in between the circles & snapped a shot past Andersen. And just over a minute later, the Maple Leafs grabbed a one goal lead again when forward Mitchell Marner, positioned to the right of the net all by himself, took a pass from Tavares & shot the puck past Vasilevskiy.
The third period started with a giveaway by Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh, leading to another chance for Marner. That shot was pushed aside by Vasilevskiy & a little more than a minute after that save, the Lightning had a chance to tie the score on the power play after forward Zach Hyman was called for slashing defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.
During that two minute man advantage, Tampa Bay had their power play set up & had multiple chances to get their third goal including shots by Stamkos & Kucherov. But Andersen was able to keep the puck out of his net.
The Maple Leafs lead remained at one but that's mainly because of the way Vasilevskiy played in the third period. The Maple Leafs had point blank shots from Kapanen & Kadri that the Lightning goalie had to make quality saves on to keep his team's deficit at one.
Needing a goal, Tampa Bay eventually pulled Vasilevskiy & after shots from Stamkos & Kucerov again, Toronto was able to clear the puck from their own zone. But during the clearing, it appeared that the puck was shot out of play & bounced back onto the ice. While several Lightning players included Hedman, pointed at where the puck may have went out of play, Hyman skated down the ice & put the puck into an empty net for the final goal of the game. The Lightning argued but the play, which could not be reviewed, stood as originally called.
Before their 10 day break, Tampa Bay will host San Jose on Saturday night at Amalie Arena. Coverage on 970 WFLA begins with pre-game at 6:30pm & face-off is at 7pm.
1. TBL-PPG- Point 30th goal (Stamkos, Hedman)- 9:48
2. TOR- Kadri 10th goal (Kapanen, Marleau)- 11:48
1. TOR- Marleau 11th goal (Kadri, Zaitsev)- 13:06
2. TBL- Hedman 6th goal (Kucherov, Point)- 13:43
3. TOR- Marner 19th goal (Tavares, Johnsson)- 14:49
1. TOR- EN- Hyman 8th goal (Zaitsev, Tavares)- 19:09
1. TBL- Kucherov (Slashing 2 min)- 5:32
2. TOR- Ozhiganov (Hooking 2 min)- 8:34
3. TBL- Hedman (Delay Of Game 2 min)- 12:09
1. TOR- Dermott (Interference 2 min)- 2:47
2. TOR- Nylander (Holding 2 min)- 16:26
1. TOR- Hyman (Slashing 2 min)- 1:59