Despite controlling play for good portions of the game, the Toronto Maple Leafs were punished for their mistakes in a 5-3 home loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Steven Stamkos paced the Lightning attack with a goal and three assists. Ondrej Kase scored a pair of goals for the Maple Leafs.
Toronto outshot Tampa Bay 38-27 but costly turnovers ended up in the Maple Leafs net.
Ondrej Kase got the Maple Leafs on the board with a power play goal at 1:44 of the first period. He grabbed a loose puck and put it top shelf on the short side to beat Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Tampa Bay evened the score at 9:57 of the first period. A sloppy neutral zone pass by Jake Muzzin was picked off by Lightning winger Corey Perry, who skated the length of the ice and found Pierre-Edouard Bellemare driving to the net. He earned his second goal of the season by re-directing Perry’s pass past Maple Leafs netminder Jack Campbell.
At 12:16 of the first period, a failed Jake Muzzin clearing attempt went off Ondrej Kase’s glove and bounced into the wheelhouse of Steven Stamkos. He fired a rocket over Campbell’s blocker and under the crossbar for his 13th goal of the season.
With time winding down in the first period, William Nylander brought the Maple Leafs back to even ground. Auston Matthews went forward off the face-off, dancing around Bellemare, and sent a cross-ice pass towards Nylander. It bounced off the far boards and Nylander one-timed it, possibly deflected by a Tampa Bay defender, over Vasilevskiy’s glove at 19:54 of the first period. It was Nylander’s 12th goal of the season.
Lightning Pull Away
Ondrej Palat put the Lightning back in the lead with his eighth goal of the season. His attempted pass across the crease deflected in off the stick of a backchecking William Nylander at 4:02 of the second period.
Taylor Raddysh extended the Tampa Bay lead at 9:11 of the second period, taking a pass in the high slot from Steven Stamkos and snapping it over Jack Campbell’s glove. It was Raddysh’s third goal of the season and his third in the past four games.
Ondrej Kase brought the Maple Leafs back to within a goal at 9:36 of the third period. Vasilevskiy thought he had controlled a Jake Muzzin shot but the puck was lying loose in front of him. Kase pulled it free and buried the rebound for his eighth goal of the season.
Ondrej Palat tapped in an empty net goal with 28.1 seconds left to wrap up the scoring.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 35 of 38 shots for the victory. Jack Campbell made 22 saves on 26 shots in the loss.
The Maple Leafs drop to 18-8-2 and, missing some regulars from the lineup, they are now tied with Tampa Bay at 17-5-4 and Florida at 17-4-4. All three teams have 38 points to tie for the Atlantic Division lead. The Maple Leafs have played more games than their Florida counterparts.
Toronto will host the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday.
Quotes and takeaways coming soon.