The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-2 in Game 2 of the first round! After a difficult loss on Tuesday night, the blue and white bounced right back with a blowout of their own. The series score is now tied at one a piece, heading to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4. In what felt like a must-win, the Maple Leafs showed up, playing extremely well.
In the first period, the Maple Leafs got things started quickly this time. On an early power-play chance, Mitch Marner fired a puck from the half wall, just beating Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky. The Leafs took a 1-0 lead only 0:47 into the game and didn’t stop there. Around ten minutes later, Maple Leafs captain John Tavares and teammate William Nylander both added goals of their own. The home side was up 3-0 after the first period, shocking the Bolts after twenty.
Once the middle frame was underway, Tampa Bay started to look much better. After catching some momentum thanks to Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky, the Bolts scored their first of the night. Tampa Bay defenseman Ian Cole drove to the net, beating Ilya Samsonov down low. However, despite the Lightning starting to show signs of life, Maple Leafs captain John Tavares added his second of the night. The Maple Leafs restored their three goal lead and didn’t stop there. Shortly after the captain’s goal, Leafs forward Zach Aston-Reese buried a loose puck for his first of the playoffs. Once the Maple Leafs had a 5-1 lead, Leafs star Mitch Marner added a second goal of his own before the second intermission, giving the Leafs a commanding 6-1 lead after two.
In the third period, thing’s got a little out of control after some chippy play. A fight between Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn and Lightning forward Tanner Jeannot provided a spark to this one. Both teams started playing with a bit more bite, leading to a Tampa Bay goal. Lightning veteran forward Corey Perry scored his second of the series 12:38 into the third. After the Bolts added their second of the night, more chippiness started to arise as Leafs defenseman Justin Holl got in a scrap with Lightning goal scorer Corey Perry. Shortly after the second fight, Leafs captain John Tavares completed the hat-trick scoring his third of the game. The two sides played out the remainder of the clock, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-2 at Scotiabank Arena.
In a night that felt like a must-win, the Maple Leafs needed their stars to show up, and wow, did they ever. Leafs forwards William Nylander, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares were crucial in the Leafs Game 2 victory. Still, credit needs to be given to long-time Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly who was absolutely amazing tonight. The third game of the series will be on Saturday night as the Lightning host the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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