May 21, 2022

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TAMPA. Targets in time beyond regulation are hardly ever stunning.

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Typically it is desperation pictures, pucks crammed in crowds and sometimes not focused, our bodies piled up across the internet.

It was this determined play that led the Tampa Bay Lightning to win Sport 6 in time beyond regulation. That could possibly be the true distinction between the Maple Leafs and the Stanley Cup-champion Lightning in six video games of a extremely aggressive first-round playoff sequence.

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The Leafs arguably dominated time beyond regulation till the game-winning purpose by Briden Level.

Simply as they dominated time beyond regulation in Sport 6 a 12 months in the past in opposition to a smaller group from Montreal, they flipped the puck as soon as and misplaced the sport after which the sequence.

For all their prowess at scoring targets, what the Leafs could lack in necessary moments is the desperation the Lightning have proven on this sequence and within the earlier two playoff sequence as Nationwide Hockey League champions. This will sound cliche, but it surely’s not. It is the distinction between successful a sequence and dropping it. There may be nowhere to notice desperation within the protocol, however it’s seen, and coach John Cooper calls for it from his gamers – pucks into the web, ahead into the web.

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It’s working.

If Nikita Kucherov or Viktor Hedman are making passes that defy science, then lots of Tampa Bay’s targets are available in the identical manner as Level scored in time beyond regulation, as Anthony Cirelli made a roundhouse shot within the second interval to offer ” Lightning 2 factors. -0 forward, scoring within the minority.

It wasn’t Mitch Marner who hit the puck off Andrey Vasilevsky’s stick and let Auston Matthews rating the game-winning purpose in Sport 5. That is artwork. These are the highlights of the video. That was the purpose that legendary coach Scotty Bowman was speaking about two days after it occurred.

Marner had loads of time with the puck within the third interval and time beyond regulation in Sport 6. Matthews had one other nice recreation. Marner didn’t match the extent of his heart, presumably because of the period of time he spent between common shifts and penalty kills.

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In time beyond regulation, Marner had three or 4 alternatives to attain the puck – which was form of a daily season outing – however as a substitute of getting discouraged, he tried to get artistic. In the long run, he intercepted the puck.

And it is actually stunning between what works and when it really works, and generally the way it works for the gamers.

The Leafs have artists in Marner and William Nylander, who performed 2-on-1 early within the recreation, then 3-on-2 and different innings in a rush, though he appeared drained as night time fell. in recreation 6. In recreation 2 on 1 shot on purpose is just not mounted. The three on 2 recreation did not hit the goal. Nylander, arguably the second finest shooter within the Leafs, reimagined the sport as a substitute of taking Cirelli or Brandon Hagel out in time beyond regulation and simply letting them fly.

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With equal energy within the sequence, seasoned Leafs gamers have outperformed seasoned Lightning gamers, and it isn’t a straightforward process. Kucherov, who virtually by no means appears to experience laborious, creates most of his finest powerplay offense, or so it appears.

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Who performed for the Lightning once they wanted to, in addition to powerplay, have been Ondrej Palat, Ross Colton, Nick Paul, Alex Killorn, Cirelli and Level in Sport 6, each of whom have been alleged to be on Workforce Canada. was Workforce Canada on the Olympics.

Two targets scored by captain John Tavares within the final minute of the second interval on Thursday night time have been the sort of emotional recreation that led to Tampa’s time beyond regulation victory.

These weren’t essentially rushed performs. There was a puck thrown into the web, a shot by Tavares and a shot by Jason Spezza, who missed however distracted Vasilevsky. It was one purpose. The second match had a hitting recreation that noticed Tavares within the slot and Vasilevskiy misplaced and he discovered the highest of the web to offer the Leafs a 3-2 lead.

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After dropping Sport 6, the Leafs had so many causes to be pleased with the best way they performed. They’d a powerful Tampa protection. Now and again Lightning chased the sport. The Leafs had a spot that’s generally lacking throughout the playoffs.

And one scout seen after the sport that two targets went by Campbell’s legs, one other from his proper rubber. He did not assume any of these three pictures have been unstoppable, however he did level out the distinction between the scores in that they have been the results of determined play, fast pictures, pucks into the web each time the shooter adopted up on his shot. .

Saturday night time is the night of the seventh recreation in Canada. However it is a completely different seventh recreation than the Leafs was once: it is a completely different sequence. They discovered once they performed Boston in 2018, once they performed Washington in 2017, and have been able to beat the Bruins in 2019. That didn’t occur. Then they themselves misplaced to Columbus and Montreal, Sport 5 in opposition to the Blue Jackets, and a reasonably flat Sport 7 in opposition to the Canadiens.

Now champions. Leaves can defeat them. They’re out of their league right here. However they should play with a desperation that wasn’t there in Sport 6’s time beyond regulation. With such desperation, which introduced Tavares two targets and virtually didn’t rating both the sport or the sequence.

ssimmons@postmedia.com
twitter.com/simmonssteve

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