Lightning scorers: Stamkos (21)
Goalies: Vasilevskiy (Win) 60:00 minutes played, 30 saves, 0 GA, Bernier (Loss), 60:00 minutes played, 28 saves, 1 GA
Fresh off of a walloping at the hands of the Florida Panthers on Tuesday evening, the Toronto Maple Leafs hoped they could rebound against the Tampa Bay Lightning and their last game of their Florida road swing.
As the two teams headed into the first period, the Leafs quickly got into penalty trouble with Roman Polak heading to the box after shooting the puck over the glass. Before the period hit the five minute mark, rumoured future-Leaf Steven Stamkos took advantage of the Leafs penalty and put his team up by one. The Leafs continued their march to the penalty box with Jake Gardiner serving two minutes and Rich Clune following after interfering with Andrei Vasilevskiy.
In similar fashion to the game against the Panthers, the Leafs were severely outshot throughout the first and finished with just six shots on net to the Lightning’s 17.
The Leafs looked to regroup in the second and had several opportunities to do so, as the Lightning soon found themselves on the penalty kill after serving back-to-back penalties to start the period. Their offence seemed to be picking up, but were still being outshot by five as the period wound down.
With the third period underway, the Leafs generated more scoring chances than they had in the previous periods and managed to stay out of the penalty box. But with only one power play chance throughout the third, the Leafs couldn’t even the score and lost the game by one goal.
Jonathan Bernier, who had a strong showing despite the Leafs loss, spoke to the media after the game about what went wrong for his team.
“As a group, we know we have to be better right off the bat. But tonight was a little different; we got into the box a few too many times in the first. We battled really hard in the second and the third and I think we played really well,” Bernier said.
The Leafs will enjoy a few day off for the NHL All-Star break before resuming on February 2nd against the Bruins.