Stop us if you have heard this before. The Tampa Bay Lightning go up big against the Toronto Maple Leafs early, goalie gets pulled, multi-goal lead gets blown and then Toronto wins in overtime. It happened again Monday night. The only difference this time was that it happened in Toronto. Tampa Bay squandered a 4-1 first period lead before losing again in overtime.
Whether it is regular season or playoffs, it seems as though Toronto just has the Lightning’s number. Blown lead after blown lead, the same game seems to keep repeating itself.
Here We Go Again
It needs to be said that the Lightning were pretty awesome in the first period. Four unanswered goals with Nikita Kucherov collecting points on all of them. Ilya Samsonov was pulled just like the first meeting between these teams in Tampa in October.
After what happened in October and in last year’s playoffs, it was pretty predictable that Toronto would push and come back. The Leafs would score five consecutive goals after Joseph Woll came into the Toronto net. This game was Déjà vu of Déjà vu.
Yes, the above tweet was after the first period with the Lightning up 4-1. It was that predictable.
After blown leads are obviously becoming a repeat story, so are the Lightning’s struggles in overtime. Monday night’s loss marked Tampa Bay’s fourth loss of the season in overtime. Their overtime win streak goes well back into last season also.
Monday night was the same in overtime too. Tampa Bay lost the opening face-off and then never touched the puck again. Three-on-three overtime has become entirely about possession. If you do not win the opening draw and never re-gain possession, it is pretty much game over. In all four of their OT losses, the Lightning have essentially had little to know possession.
Hagel Once Again Collects the Extra Point
While the Lightning blowing multi-goal leads and struggling in overtime are obviously two of the major talking points in the early part of the season, it cannot be lost that Brandon Hagel has helped the Lightning grasp multiple extra points. Hagel’s tying goal late in regulation earned the Lightning a point despite squandering the extra one.
Hagel has collected three goals this season late in games that have forced overtime. Those have come against Buffalo, Seattle and Toronto on Monday night. Getting just a point is obviously not a consolation prize from a game like this, but those extra points will come in handy as Tampa Bay has two win’s worth of points in games they definitely could have lost in regulation.