Bolts even series with dominating win

by Gary Shelton on May 9, 2022

in general

Kucherov had two assists./JEFFREY S. KING

Monday, 4 a.m.

There are times they look weary. After all, the Tampa Bay Lightning have played a lot of hockey the past three seasons.

There are times they overpass, and times they under-defend. There are times that Andrei Vasilevskiy seems a tick off what he has been in the past. There are times they look as if they can be had.

But know this about the Lightning. They will not go quietly.

The Bolts, Team Bounceback, evened their playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday night, winning a 7-3 stroll. The Bolts started fast, taking a 5-0 lead and holding on.

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Corey Perry (10) scores his goal./JEFFREY S. KING

The Bolts scored in the first minute of the game (Steven Stamkos) and twice on their first four shots. Eight minutes into the game, they had a 3-0 lead.

"We scored early and often," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Usually  when you do that, you’re putting a team on their heels. That was the game. "

The Lightning has now lost 16 times in the last two-plus playoffs. They've come back to win their next game every time. Still, they will have to win at least once in Toronto to advance.

It would help, of course, if Stamkos could score another quick goal.

"The first goal's been important in the series so far, Stamkos said. "Other than that we had a great start. That was one of our keys was to come out and play the right way. We got rewarded for that great team effort to start and it carried through.

"We know how critical Game Five is."

After Stamkos scored, the Bolts followed with goals by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Pat Maroon, Ross Colton and Corey Perry. The Leafs pushed with three goals in the third, but after the Leafs pulled the goaltender with 5:45 to play, Ondrej Palat and Colton scored.

The teams play in Toronto on Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. Game six is scheduled for Thursday night at Amalie Arena.

Victor Hedman looks for an open teammate./JEFFREY S. KING

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