Post-Game Analysis: Maple Leafs Drop Another in Overtime, 4-3 Vs. Tampa Bay

Mitch Marner Attempts to win Puck Back From Steven Stamkos in the Neutral Zone
Mitch Marner Attempts to win Puck Back From Steven Stamkos in the Neutral Zone Photo credit: Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost a close one on Saturday night. A 4-3 overtime loss in Tampa Bay finally ended the Maple Leafs win streak. After winning their last five games in a row, the Maple Leafs certainly came out to play in Tampa. The outcome was unfortunate, but the team still managed to pull out another point. That is fifteen of sixteen games where the team has gotten at least a point! Overtime has been hard on the Leafs this season, to say the least, but points in fifteen out of sixteen is a very encouraging stat. 

Both teams came out ready in the opening period, with lots of shots and opportunities for both. A few nice opportunities for Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner early on, but the 25-year-old just couldn’t finish. Mitch Marner came into Saturday’s game with an 18-game points streak, tied for the Maple Leafs franchise record. After a pretty back-and-forth first period, the game started getting chippy. Nothing too major early on, but some crisp hits were thrown by both teams. Watching this one early on, you couldn’t help but feel that playoff-type vibe carry over from last season. Vasilevsky was sharp early for the Lightning in goal, while Murray held his ground for the Maple Leafs. The score was 0-0 heading into the first intermission, with Toronto leading the shots 12-11.

In the second frame of this one, the offensive units of both teams started to catch fire. A game-opening goal for Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner made it 1-0 Toronto! This was Marner’s 19th consecutive game with a point that broke the franchise record! A nifty short-handed play by the Leafs gave them the early advantage. After a few minutes, the Tampa Bay Lightning got one back! Vladislav Namestnikov of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored his first of the season. A lucky bounce found Namestnikov in the slot, who ripped one glove side on Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray. After Namestnikov tied the game, Maple Leafs forward William Nylander gave the blue and white their lead back! A nifty feed by Maple Leaf center Auston Matthews found William on the backhand, who tucked it by Vasilevsky! After taking a 2-1 lead with just under four minutes to go, the Maple Leafs kept coming. A strong second period for the blue and white continued until the final seconds. The Maple Leafs entered the second intermission with a 2-1 lead and outshot the Lightning 19-11 in the middle frame.

The third period was as perfect a start as you could have imagined for the Lightning. A Nikita Kucherov goal tied the game only 1:51 into the final frame, his 11th of the season, was an important one for Tampa Bay. After Kucherov set the tone of the third period early, the Lightning didn’t stop. The Bolts were coming in waves and peppering Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray with shots. Eventually, another one hit the twine. Tampa Bay Lightning’s Ross Colton was in a perfect spot on the power play! All alone to the left side of Matt Murray, who was completely screened, left an open goal for the Tampa Bay forward. After the Lightning started the third period with a bit of a bite, the Maple Leafs got back into it! Mitch Marner scored his second of the game on the power play for his 10th of the season! A perfectly placed wrist shot from Marner beat Vasilevsky to tie the game up at 3. Both teams were flying to close out this one, and the Leafs even added another! Captain John Tavares scored a greasy goal after crashing the net. Many Leafs fans across the globe were celebrating. Unfortunately, the goal was disallowed after review. Once the goal was disallowed, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning were set for overtime!

Coming into the overtime, the Maple Leafs struggles were already widely known after dropping five previously. On Saturday night, things didn’t get much better after a tough Matthews turnover led to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s goal. Alex Killorn ended the game only 33 seconds in. This was now the 6th game the blue and white have dropped after regulation and now have more losses in overtime/shootout than in regulation. Despite a tough ending, this was still an encouraging performance for most of the night! The team now looks ahead to Tuesday’s game in Dallas vs. the Stars. 

Thanks for reading! For more hockey content, follow my Twitter at @ITR_Anselmo

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Joshua Anselmo

A hockey mind that's always looking at new and insightful ways to bring different perspectives of the game we all love.

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