Espo’s Rule comes back to bite the Lightning.
Toronto Leads the Series 3-2
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 26 shots for the loss. He’s got to get the Nylander goal. Got to.
5:19 TB Stamkos (2), (Palat, Kucherov)
6:11 TB Hedman (2), (Kucherov, Killorn)(PP)
3:35 TOR Tavares (1), (Nylander, Giordano)(PP)
3:01 TOR Rielly (2), (Tavares, Nylander)
4:14 TOR Nylander (3), (Mikheyev, Holl)
8:17 TB McDonagh (1), (Colton, Paul)
13:54 TOR Matthews (3), (Marner, Bunting)
The Lightning played a near flawless First Period, and then Nikita Kucherov missed two open nets on a 5-on-3, and Espo’s Rule is a cruel and unforgiving mistress. Second Period the team was still playing well until a stupid too many men penalty. 2-1 off a skate. Puck luck put Toronto back into the game. And then Stamkos takes a stupid high sticking call on a PP and next thing you know Toronto’s not only tied but playing from the lead position.
It’s infuriating. The Lightning’s wounds in this series have largely been self-inflicted. They should’ve lapped Toronto tonight, but they chose not to bury Toronto when they had the chance. They messed around and found out. And, now, we’ve got to depend on the concept of the Lightning playing two proper back-to-back games of Lightning hockey to pull this series out of the jaws of defeat. Do-able? Yes. Toronto is no juggernaut and the Lightning have remained the better team at 5’s. But they have to stop beating themselves.
Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.