May 21, 2022

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Now the Maple Leafs should steal a web page, if not a number of, from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s playoff compilation.

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The Leafs knew the Lightning would hit again more durable in Recreation 2 on Wednesday night time on the Scotiabank Area after the Leafs spanked guests in Recreation 1.

Tampa proved proper to Toronto by beating the Leafs 5-3 to tie the best-of-seven within the first-round sequence 1-1 within the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.

This continued the Lightning’s post-season behavior, aided by goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky’s sharp play and particular groups dominance.

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In every of the previous two years that Tampa Bay has gained the Cup twice in a row, the Lightning haven’t misplaced a single recreation in a row.

Within the common season, the Leafs prided themselves on shortly forgetting onerous losses, and so they’ll need to do the identical in Recreation 3 in Tampa on Friday. The Lightning could make it to the playoffs. There is no cause the Leafs cannot both.

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What’s irritating for the Leafs is that they did not play unhealthy hockey with a tie.

The specials for Toronto weren’t as efficient as they have been within the first recreation. Tampa scored three powerplay objectives in seven possibilities whereas the Leafs led 0-4 with a participant benefit.

“We’d like to ensure we do properly,” mentioned Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe. “Clearly, what a distinction there was within the recreation.

“Look how shut the 5-on-5 recreation was (40-36 photographs for the Leafs). You will have religion that you could change it and it is going to be onerous.

“Groups aren’t a lot totally different. You have to be sharp, you have to be disciplined. With two video games, we acquired a very good thought of ​​what’s in retailer for the sequence.”

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Vasilevsky’s finest save of his 31 was on Timothy Liljegren firstly of the second recreation in opposition to Tampa 1-0. Lilliegren’s shot was despatched to the 9 till Vasilevsky picked up the puck within the air.

At 1:33 of the third, Brandon Hagel outplayed Lilliegren within the Leafs’ web, scoring to make it 4-1.

The lead widened to 4 objectives at 5:38 when Braden Level scored and Wayne Simmonds sat within the field to recheck Corey Perry.

Mitch Marner got here again for the Leafs with eight minutes left within the recreation and Alex Kerfoot scored shorthanded with 4 minutes left.

Jack Campbell made 29 saves for Toronto.

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By believing that forwards Kyle Clifford and Simmonds would not cross the bodily line earlier than the sequence, each veteran let Keef down.

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For Clifford, it was a one-game suspension resulting from his main boarding on Ross Colton within the first interval of the primary recreation. The Leaves managed to get by it with none harm.

Not so with Simmonds’ unruly penalty within the second interval on Wednesday. For no cause, Simmonds threw Pierre-Edouard Bellemare onto the ice on the Leafs purpose and was fined for being impolite. It occurred at 9:28 when the Leafs have been down 2-1.

Within the majority, Nikita Kucherov had time to get into place and shoot over Campbell’s glove.

“We took too many penalties,” Simmonds mentioned. “I feel I used to be a legal. Took two, they scored two, we misplaced two.

“It stings. I am a person, I can admit after I’m incorrect. I do not assume you possibly can let that take away your benefit. However it’s important to be good and ensure you play bodily between whistles.”

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Perry gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead by 2:21 seconds when Victor Hedman put him on the lead.

A diligent pre-check by Auston Matthews allowed the Leafs to chop Tampa’s result in one purpose in 7:47. Matthews’ examine knocked Ryan McDonagh off the puck within the nook, and as he went down, Matthews poked it at Marner. In fast vogue, Marner fed Michael Bunting, who celebrated his first Stanley Cup playoff recreation together with his first purpose.

Banting missed the final three common season video games and Recreation 1 with an undisclosed damage.

Hedman scored on the powerplay on the finish of the primary.

“With so many energy video games and the gamers they’ve, it places quite a lot of strain on Sup and our PC,” mentioned John Tavares. “We should be extra disciplined.

“We should proceed to be diligent. It is such a wonderful line. The judges do job with one man, they make it fairly apparent. He adapts to it.”

tkoshan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/koshtorontosun

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