Latest Features

NHL Game Night: 3-20-18 Maple Leafs at Lightning

Lightning score four unanswered to maul Toronto's young psyche.

TOR-3
TB-4

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 30 shots for his team record-setting 41st win of the campaign. Kind of a middle-of-the-road effort, but I'm alright with that. I'd rather Vasiy save one or two of his otherwordly hot streaks for the postseason, if possible.

First Period
15:06 TOR Van Riemsdyk (32), (Marner, Carrick)

Second Period
1:29 TOR Van Riemsdyk (33), (Bozak, Kadri)(PP)
15:41 TOR Hyman (14), (unassisted)
16:40 TB Hedman (13), (Stamkos, Erne)

Third Period
1:24 TB McDonagh (4), (Gourde, Sergachev)
3:32 TB Kucherov (37), (unassisted)
9:14 TB Killorn (14), (Cirelli, Gourde)

Ryan McDonagh and Anthony Cirelli were the game's first and second stars.

The Lightning found themselves sorely outplayed for the first 35 minutes of this game to fall behind 3-0 before turning on the afterburners and leaving Toronto in the jet fumes. It wasn't an awful First Period for the Lightning from the standpoint of a ton of turnovers or odd man rushes, but they were outpossessed and they really started to loosen up and give up turnovers that cost them mightily in the Second Period. Hope came in the form of some good work by Adam Erne to help manufacture Victor Hedman's goal to slice the deficit to two goals heading into the Second Intermission. And then it was just blood in the water. The Third Period was a total squash as the Lightning found their groove and just ran over the Maple Leafs on the way to the victory.

The Lightning's Jekyll and Hyde performance points to something that is simultaneously exciting and terrifying about this team: I don't think they're capable of winning a game 2-1. If they get a goal, they're getting three or four. Conversely, it feels like if they surrender a goal, they're giving up three or four, too. The swings of momentum caused by goals for and against for this team are dramatic in both the positive and the negative direction. That means they're never out of a game and they're capable of explosive outbursts, but we haven't seen sixty minutes of detail-conscious hockey in forever, and that's something that we need to see in the postseason.

Cirelli had a helper and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot in 17:19. He was also 64% on 11 draws. After looking overwhelmed in the circles early in his callup he's started to find his way in the circles of late.

Erne had a helper, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 11:01. He's a guy who can be a momentum changer right now because he is so strong on the puck and on the cycle. He's a guy who can help you start to tilt the ice in your favor if he gets the puck down low below the dots in the zone.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.