Tampa, FL – The Tampa Bay Lightning held a 3-1 lead with 7:49 to go only to see Matthew Knies score a pair of goals in 2:22 to tie the game. John Tavares scored the game winner with 0:55 seconds left in overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday night at Amalie Arena.
Nikita Kucherov scored a pair of goals and Alex Barre-Boulet tallied his first goal of the season. Jonas Johansson, who Jon Cooper felt should have been named all three stars, played an impressive game with 48 saves.
With the loss, the Lightning fall to 2-2-2 on the season and are now 3-5-2 over their past 10 matchups with Toronto. “Obviously frustrated.” Lightning Coach Jon Cooper said. “Watched that movie before against these guys.”
Cooper wasn’t happy with the way his players handled the third period, specifically the last half of the period. “Give Toronto credit. They did what you have to do get points in a hockey game. They played a full 60 minutes plus and we didn’t.” He said. “Then we left it, again, we left it on our goalies shoulders to carry it home and that’s so unfair.”
Alex Barre-Boulet was disappointed in not closing out the Leafs after the solid performance by Johansson. “It sucks, he’s battling out there. He’s been playing really well since the start of the season.”Barre-Boulet said. “Obviously, we have to get more done for him.”
The Lightning are going to have to get into a better mindset to close teams out at home. “A two goal lead, we have to keep pressing.” Barre-Boulet said. “The best defense is offense. We have to keep forechecking and not get back on our heels.”
Jon Cooper is not a fan of altering the way the team approaches the game based on score. “If you were watching, you saw the intensity of the game elevate when the score got tied. Then, everybody was really really engaged and we almost scored the winner at the end there.” Cooper remarked. “Why did it take them to tie it for us to get to that point. Something we’ll learn as a team. I thought Toronto played with that desperation throughout that third and clearly we did not.”
How It Unfolded:
William Nylander scored at the 4:16 mark of the first period to give Toronto the early lead. It was his fourth goal of the season and 11th goal in 25 career games against Tampa Bay.
The Bolts went on the power play 6:10 into the first period and needed just 16-seconds for Nikita Kucherov to find the back of the net with his fifth goal of the season.
Kucherov, who scored a pair of goals against Vancouver on Thursday night, continued to ignite the Lightning and delivered a crisp pass to Alex Barre-Boulet who buried the puck giving Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead midway through the first period.
The Lighting went back on the power play 13:24 into the first period. The first power play lasted just 16-second, this one, only 4-seconds before Nikita Kucherov scored his second goal of the game, this one extending the Lightning lead to 3-1 and ending the night for starting Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov.
Samsonov saw four shots and allowed three goals in 13:29 minutes. He was replaced by Joseph Woll.
The two teams each had opportunities in the second period but both Johansson and Woll kept the pucks out of the back of their respecitive nets.
The Lightning entered the third period up 3-1.
Matthew Knies scored 12:11 into the 3rd period to cut the Bolts lead to 3-2 and scored the game tying goal at the 14:33 mark.
John Tavares scored the game winning goal with 0:55 seconds remaining in overtime.