Bolts’ huge collapse leaves them on brink

by Gary Shelton on April 25, 2023

in general

Killorn scored twice in loss./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

How do they recover from this?

How do the players of the Tampa Bay Lightning get back to their feet again? How do they wipe the blood from their noses and proceed?

The Lightning suffered perhaps the worst collapse in franchise history Monday night, blowing a 4-1 lead and losing 5-4 to Toronto in overtime. It was a loss that left a team dazed and staggering and on the brink of elimination.

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Stamkos tipped in a goal./TIM WIRT

It was the third straight time the Leafs have beaten Tampa Bay, and now, they need to win just one of the next three games of the series to send the Lighting home.

Imagine this:

-- The Lightning, the team that supposedly knows how to win, was up 3-1 halfway through the third period.

-- They were at home.

-- They had the goalie they consider the world's best in net.

And they lost. The Leafs scored three times in a span of seven minutes and 20 seconds, then won in overtime while giving the Bolts just one shot in the extra period.

"It’s tough," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "If you look at the big picture, we’ve done some good things.We’ve scored enough goals to win. You've got to keep it out of the net. You can’t keep giving this amount of goals we have. Four goals be enough to win. You've got to defend and keep the puck out of your net."

The Bolts, who blew a lead with 60 seconds to play in Game Three (before losing in overtime), this time had a 4-1 lead midway through the third periodAlex Killorn scored two goals and Steven Stamkos and Mikhail Sergachev scored.

But the Leafs got on a roll in the third period, a period the Bolts once claimed as theirs.

Andrei Vasilevskiy wasn't sharp, giving up five goals. He has given up. He (and his defense) has given up 19 goals in four games.

The Bolts now must win three straight to keep from being eliminated, two of them on the road. The teams play again Thursday night in Toronto at 7 p.m.

Vasilevskiy has had trouble with Leafs./TIM WIRT

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