The Tampa Bay Lightning’s quest for their third straight Stanley Cup got off to a stunningly horrifying start. Toronto took game one of the series as the Leafs played a nearly perfect game while Tampa Bay played as poorly as you possibly can, getting shutout 5-0.
Let’s Get into it.
1. Not Matching the Intensity
Before getting into anything else, Toronto had significantly more energy than Tampa Bay did, especially in the first two periods. The Lightning have nothing to prove, and the Leafs have everything to prove. Maybe that is an oversimplification, but the game one energy reflected a Maple Leaf team that was skating and had more life than the Lightning.
2. Missed Opportunities.
This game truthfully was lost in the first period, even before the Leafs went ahead 1-0. It all started with the Lightning having an abysmal time on the powerplay. Toronto generated more opportunities shorthanded than the Lightning did on the powerplay and they even had a five-minute major penalty after Kyle Clifford received a boarding major. Tampa Bay was unable to gain the zone at all and Toronto’s powerplay was surgical and repeatedly created shorthanded chances and finally got a shorthanded goal in the second period.
3. Penalties Ruining the Run of Play
There were nine total powerplays handed out in the first two periods. The refereeing did not favor one team or another but there was very little action at five on five in the first two periods. All of the penalties were legitimate, but we want to see a little more even strength time. Teams were not able to roll out all four lines and a real rhythm wasn’t really established.
4. Leaf Stars have Big Night
Well, in game one the Lightning allowed Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner to gain confidence. They combined for six total points. Wherever these two go, so do the Leafs. When the scoring has dried up for Toronto in past playoffs, Matthews and Marner have been kept quiet. If they did not have their attention as much before, the certainly do now.
5. It is only 1-0
No matter how ugly it was, the result only counts for one game. You may have heard but the Lightning have not lost consecutive games in the playoffs in the past two seasons. There is nothing this team has not seen before and there is every reason to believe they will respond. They play seven games for a reason.