The Leafs faced their first of many “real” tests that await as the season progresses; while they came out on the short end of a Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 victory the “take-aways” from the game were encouraging.
They outplayed the very talented Lightning for a good portion of the game aided by 6-man advantage situations; they skated with the number one team in the NHL and played a consistent high-level game moving the puck extremely well.
The lesson learned is an elite team like Tampa doesn’t need much to secure a victory, especially if the type of goaltending Andrei Vasilevskiy provided last night with an off the charts performance against arguably the most potent offense in the league is any indication. However, beginning Sunday, the Bolts get a “real” test of their own heading out west to face the Jets, Canucks, Flames and Oilers; a very challenging week to say the least.
Last nights game at the sold-out Amalie Arena featured another impressive gathering of Leafs fans in attendance and the Tampa/win, Toronto/loss, sums up as follows:
- Leafs hit three posts in the first period
- Toronto went 0-6 on the power play
- William Nylander stripped of the puck lead to a Bolts shorthanded goal
- Two Lightning goals in the last 30-seconds of the second
- Frederik Andersen was average allowing 4-goals on 21-shots
- Andrei Vasilevskiy was brilliant stopping 48
Andersen will have to be better against opportunistic teams like Tampa and the Leafs will need to capitalize in the same fashion the Bolts did to them last night; particularly as the games get tighter going forward.
Overall a terrific hockey game but Toronto must realize as the Lightning have, it takes just more than talent to be successful in this league.