Toronto easily handles Tampa Bay

by Gary Shelton on December 21, 2022

in general

Namestnikov had the Bolts' only goal./TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

So much for the potent offense of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Toronto Maples Leafs unplugged the cord on Tuesday night, coasting to a 4-1 victory over the punchless Bolts, who had won five straight games coming in.

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Vasilevskiy made 36 stops./TIM WIRT

Not this time. This time, the Bolts managed just four shots in the first period, four more in the second and 11 in the third to go down weakly.

Consider this: Nikita Kucherov, the team's leading scorer, had just three shots. Brayden Point had two. Steven Stamkos had one. Brandon Hagel and Nick Paul had none.

“I don’t know what part of the game they reinvented that had us perform like that," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "Note to self: don’t come to Toronto three days before the game. That was painfully evident, because we did not show up tonight."

Cooper was perplexed by the effort, particularly as well as his team had been playing.

“Same team we’ve played, the exact same style the exact same everything with less players," Cooper said. "It’s the NHL. I get it. You’re not going to be at your best every night.  But we started to try to manufacture things out of nothing. We were just giving them opportunities.

"That was a complete game. Compete bag of you- know-what. That’s what that was."

The score made it look worse than it was, because Toronto added two empty netters at the end. Still, the Leafs got 38 shots against Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped 36.

The Bolts travel to Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings. The game begins at 7 p.m. 

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