Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: poor defense and timely penalties are killing the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the first period of Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bolts got themselves into an early hole; they allowed two power play goals, and finished the period trailing the Leafs 3-1.
The Bolts are frustrating to watch tonight, as they look good on the ice and put consistent pressure on the Leafs through the entire first period. They out-shot the Leafs 13-8, and they nearly scored on a couple occasions during two power plays in the first half of the period. They allowed a goal within the first minute of play, but it was a difficult shot to do anything about; Jake Gardiner hit a slapshot into traffic from back by the blue line, and Clarke MacArthur managed to get a stick on it and deflect it past Dwayne Roloson. It was one of those goals where the only thing you can do is tip your cap to your opponent.
But the later two goals? Disappointing. The Lightning tied the game up at one on a power play goal by Vincent Lecavalier, and they kept the game there until late in the period. With a little under four minutes to go in the period, though, Victor Hedman got called for a high sticking (double minor, 4 minute) penalty, and the Bolts had to finish off the period with an extended penalty kill. Tim Connolly snuck in the second goal for the Leafs, and then after Pavel Kubina got sent to the box on an interference call, Tyler Bozak took advantage of the 5-on-3 to increase the Leafs’ lead further.