5 Takeaways from Lightning vs. Leafs Game 5

Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Lightning stare down elimination and face a 3-2 series deficit for the first time in recent memory. Toronto now leads the series after Tampa Bay squandered a golden opportunity to take the series lead and build on their strong performance in game four.

Tampa Bay went ahead 2-0 right out of the gate but the momentum shifted significantly in the second period in favor of the Leafs and they eventually forced the Lightning to crack and gave up their lead to push them to the brink.

Let’s get into it.

1. Uncharacteristic Performance

The way game five ended felt like an outing of Lightning teams from yesteryear. The Lightning were all over Toronto in the first period and looked to be well on their way to another potential blowout victory. From the second period on, Toronto took complete control in all aspects of the game. We have not seen recent Lightning teams surrender leads like this very often in the playoffs, especially with an opportunity to take a stranglehold on the series.

2. Penalties Changing the Game

Once again, this series has been all about penalties. Ticky-tack calls were going both ways, especially in the first two periods. They once again disturbed the pace of play and created even more confusion by making some questionable calls early and letting others go later. The Maple Leaf powerplay got them back in the game with their first goal coming on the man advantage and their third and fourth goals coming during the same stretch of 4-on-4.

3. Needing More Depth Scoring

The Lightning offense in this one was primarily coming from the top end. Between Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman on the powerplay, they needed to just get something else from one of their forwards down the lineup. Nick Paul had a number of chances but just could not break through.

4. Tough Swing for McDonagh

Ryan McDonagh came up with the huge tying goal for Tampa Bay to level the score midway through the third at three with a huge slap shot. Just a few minutes later, McDonagh was on the wrong end of a turnover in a neutral zone that ended up creating a 2-on-1 for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner for what ended up being the game winning goal and the only Maple Leaf goal scored at 5-on-5.

5. Just Have to Win One Hockey Game

You’ve heard it before. The Lightning are 16-0 following a loss in the last three playoffs. They’ll need to make it 17 for their season to not come to an end on Thursday. They have had the answer time and time again and they’ve got a huge challenge on their hands. All they have to do is just find a way to win one hockey game and then in a game seven anything can happen. Toronto has proven an inability to close out series in the past and the Lightning will surely give them all they can handle.

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