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Steven Stamkos, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Pat Maroon scored in the first eight minutes, and the Lightning rolled to a 7-3 victory over the Maple Leafs in Game 4 of their opening-round playoff series Sunday at Amalie Arena.
Ross Colton scored twice, and Corey Perry and Ondrej Palat added goals as Tampa Bay turned a 5-0 lead early in the second period into a runaway victory.
The best-of-seven series is tied at two games apiece as it heads back to Toronto for Game 5 on Tuesday.
The Maple Leafs replaced goaltender Jack Campbell with backup Erik Kallgren less than midway through the second period.
Toronto was held off the scoreboard until William Nylander’s power-play goal 2:27 into the third. Nylander and Jake Muzzin scored later in the period for the Leafs.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 of 25 shots as the Lightning improved to 16-0 over the past three postseasons in games immediately following a loss.
Here’s how it happened:
Ross Colton snap shot saved by Erik Kallgren
Ondrej Palat shot deflected up out of play by Justin Joll
Steven Stamkos one-timer from the right side of the net stopped by Kallgren.
Mikhail Sergachev penalized for roughing
MAPLE LEAFS GOAL: William Nylander scores on a tip in front. Lightning lead 5-1.
Michael Bunting penalized for high-sticking, putting the Lightning on the power play for the eighth time in the game
Stamkos shot saved by Kallgren
Victor Hedman wrist shot from the center point misses high
Sergachev breaks up Alex Kerfoot pass on a Toronto odd-man rush
Sergachev blocks Ilya Mikheyev shot on a breakaway
Brandon Hagel takes heavy hit from Ilya Lyubushkin
Mikheyev (roughing) and McDonagh (slashing) receive minor penalties, so the teams will play 4-on-4 for the next two minutes
Kallgren makes save on high shot from Hedman
MAPLE LEAFS GOAL: Nylander scores on a blast from the left circle. Lightning lead 5-2.
Pierre Engvall shot saved by Vasilevskiy
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The Maple Leafs pull Kallgren in favor of an extra attacker with just under six minutes remaining
LIGHTNING GOAL! Ondrej Palat scores into a net with 5:20 remaining. Lightning lead 6-2.
MAPLE LEAFS GOAL: Jake Muzzin scores from above the left circle on a shot Vasilevskiy never saw. Lightning lead 6-3.
Leafs again pull Kallgren
Killorn misses the empty net, so it will be an icing call
Brayden Point and Morgan Rielly get into it after Point cross-checks Rielly following a race to the puck
Vasilevskiy stops Matthew shot from above the left circle
LIGHTNING GOAL! Hagel misses the empty net, but Colton picks up the rebound off the end boards and tucks the puck into the empty net. Lightning lead 7-3.
Brandon Hagel and Pierre Engvall each receive game misconducts
(Lightning win 7-3, tie series 2-2)
We’ll start with four-on-four play for the first 1:33
Cirelli just misses connecting with Stamkos on a 2-on-1 after Rielly blocks the pass with his skate
McDonagh one-timer saved by Campbell
Point weaves through the Toronto defense but just misses from in close
Engvall shot from the point saved by Vasilevskiy
Hedman shoots wide after feed from Colton
LIGHTNING GOAL: Colton beats Campbell gloveside with wrister from left circle. Cal Foote makes a nice play at the blue line to keep the puck alive, and Brandon Hagel feeds Colton. Lightning leads 4-0.
John Tavares penalized for tripping Corey Perry.
Daniel Kampf penalized for delay of game, and Lightning now have 5-on-3 for nearly two minutes.
Victor Hedman not on the ice for the power play
LIGHTNING GOAL! Corey Perry scores from low in the left circle. Lightning lead 5-0.
Ondrej Kase now penalized four minutes for high-sticking after drawing blood from Nick Paul. We’ll have 15 seconds of 5-on-3, then nearly four minutes of 5-on-4 play
Hedman penalized for tripping Marner
Erik Kallgren replaces Campbell in the Toronto goal with more than 13 minutes remaining in the second period
Kallgren stops Colton from the right circle off the rush
Palat wrist shot misses wide
Hedman’s out of the box, so Lightning now have more than a minute of power-play time
Pierre Engvall penalized for slashing
Kucherov penalized for tripping Marner, ending the Lightning power play
TJ Brodie penalized for slashing Paul
(Lightning lead 5-0 after two periods)
LIGHTNING GOAL! Steven Stamkos scores on a one-timer from the high slot one minute into the game. Lightning lead 1-0.
Zach Bogosian wrist shot saved by Jack Campbell
Ondrej Kase shot stopped by Andrei Vasilevskiy
Brayden Point hits Alex Kerfoot
Victor Hedman slap shot saved by Campbell
Jake Muzzin hits Corey Perry
LIGHTNING GOAL! Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scores on a rebound from the low slot, up over Campbell’s shoulder on the glove side. Lightning lead 2-0. (5:20)
Jake Muzzin hits Brayden Point
LIGHTNING GOAL! Pat Maroon dekes Campbell to score on a breakaway. Lightning lead 3-0.
Jason Spezza penalized for cross-checking Maroon, and the Lightning go on the power play
Leafs win the faceoff and clear the puck
Campbell makes pad save on Kucherov shot from the right circle, and Leafs clear the zone
Leafs send the puck back down the ice
Point drives down the slot, but Campbell stops his backhand shot with a leg save
Stamkos one-timer from left circle misses
Nick Paul gets knocked down but still manages to get the puck out of the Lightning zone
Auston Matthews backhand shot hits the post
Morgan Rielly deflection stopped by Vasilevskiy
William Nylander blast from the high slot misses wide
Erik Cernak penalized for tripping Mitch Marner
Marner shot knocked down by Ryan McDonagh
Nylander shot saved
Lightning clear the puck out of the zone
Vasilevskiy stops Kase shot
Nick Paul draws cross-checking penalty against Kase on 2-on-1 with Anthony Cirelli, but Paul is penalized, as well, for tripping, so we’ll have 4-on-4 play
(Lightning lead 3-0 after one period)
Pregame scouting report
So, what do we think about the Lightning three games into their opening-round series?
They got blown out in Game 1, then returned the favor two nights later. It was hard to tell what to make of them in Game 3, since they played shorthanded for much of the early going and fell behind 3-0.
I can’t imagine any playoff team would want to face the kind of pressure that Tampa Bay applied down the stretch. But can the Lightning play with that same level of energy for 60 minutes?
We should get a better sense tonight, when they host the Leafs in Game 4 at Amalie Arena desperately wanting to avoid falling into a 3-1 series hole.
If it can avoid the penalty box, Tampa Bay seemed to find some chemistry when it moved Nikita Kucherov onto Brayden Point’s line with Anthony Cirelli, and teamed Alex Killorn with Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat.
The Point-Cirelli-Killorn line was the Lightning’s best over the past two games and did a nice job against the Auston Matthews line in Game 3, holding the NHL goal-scoring leader without a point for the first time in the series. Breaking up the line trio spread the wealth and seemed to rejuvenate all four Tampa Bay lines.
The Lightning also did a better job of getting to the front of the net, putting shots on goal, keeping pucks alive and creating second and third chance opportunities. Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell kept the tying goal from getting past him, but the Bolts clearly made his job more difficult than they did at any point earlier in the series.
Which way will the momentum tilt tonight?
We’ll find out together, starting at 7 p.m.
Game day scene
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