Leafs can't exercise demons in Tampa, as Bolts OT winner forces Game 7
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Friday, May 13, 2022
Final Score: 4-3
TAMPA BAY -- For just a short period of time, it seemed as if maybe the Toronto Maple Leafs were actually going to do it. But that glimmer of hope was muffled out by a dark cloud in Amalie Arena Thursday night, as a costly 5-on-3 Bolts powerplay brought about the equalizing goal off the stick of none other than Nikita Kucherov. The game was tied headed into overtime for the first time this series, but the deed was already done, and the Maple Leafs were unable to finish the job losing Game 6 when a scrum in front of the net saw Brayden Point bury his second of the playoffs to secure the 4-3 win. Just like that, we’re going back to Toronto for the ever-so dreaded Game 7.
It was a case of hey, I've seen this episode before, as the Tampa Bay Lightning once again struck first. This time, it took awhile before an Alex Kerfoot drop-pass intended for T.J. Brodie was scooped up by Ondrej Palat who walked in untouched to wire it past Jack Campbell.
The score would remain before halfway through the second frame saw Ilya Mikheyev have his pass picked off by Anthony Cirelli, who then crashed the net before delivering a very Mitch Marner-esque spin to fool Campbell and give Tampa the 2-0 lead.
It appeared as if the Leafs were going to head into the third period with their work cut out for them before a Mark Giordano point shot was redirected past Andrei Vasilevskiy for #34’s fourth of the series.
In the dying minutes of the second, John Tavares led a final push with Jason Spezza before the Captain ripped a shot on Vasilevskiy that took an awkward bounce up and over the goaltender’s shoulder to knot things up at two. Spezza was originally given credit for the insurance tap, but it was #91, dubbed the goal scorer after review. Less than a minute later though, Tavares, keen on making up for his lack of presence in the early part of the series, took a feed from William Nylander before ripping his second of the night, and the go-ahead goal.
The Leafs dominated play throughout the final frame, looking as if they were ready to pack their bags and leave Florida with a series win under their belts. But the reigning double-champs most certainly had other ideas. They were able to draw two very costly high sticking penalties against Toronto with just over 10 to go. The Bolts made quick work of the two-man advantage with Nikita Kucherov finding twine to tie things up.
Overtime was a battle through and through, as it got all the way to the final three minutes before Tampa applied the pressure and Point was able to sneak the puck five-hole to send us back to Toronto.
An oh so familiar narrative with this team, and we’re at it again as Game 7 will go Saturday night, in the City.
17:38 - TB Ondrej Palat (3) 1-0
10:46 - TB Anthony Cirelli SHG (1) 2-0
11:40 - TOR Auston Matthews (4) 2-1
19:26 - TOR John Tavares (2) 2-2
19:52 - TOR John Tavares (3) 3-2
19:20 - TB Nikita Kucherov PPG (2) 3-3
18:04 - TB Brayden Point (2) 4-3