This will be the first post in a series that covers last season’s Leafs-Lightning series, in anticipation of the two meeting again this year.
One thing I’m certain Leafs staff have been doing a lot this season is paying close attention to the Lightning and Bruins, ahead of having to (likely) go through both teams in the playoffs. An excellent starting point, for me, would be last year’s postseason, so we can get a good indication of just how Tampa will use its players and what they’ll do on the ice.
Rather than a long preamble, let’s get right into it. I’ve tracked the first two games of the series, and will be posting these recaps every couple of days, with a reflection on what happened in those games, and who stood out in various statistical categories on both the Leafs and Lightning side.
First, this game wasn’t entirely on special teams, but it was played a lot on special teams. I think if I’d been asked to recall what I remembered about this game, I’d come up with the Kyle Clifford’s 5-minute major midway through the first period and how little the Leafs let Tampa Bay generate off that. I don’t think I remembered just how much of this game was spent with players in the penalty box: the Leafs had 10.6 5v4 minutes and the Lightning had 12.9.
I definitely didn’t remember Steven Stamkos somehow missing this:
The only goal that was scored during those 23 minutes and change with a man down was by David Kampf, who scored a shorthanded goal after Victor Hedman failed to hold a clearing attempt and let the puck settle nicely in the neutral zone for a breakaway. The only powerplay goal on the night was scored 11 seconds into a 5-on-3, by Auston Matthews.
Anyway, my goal isn’t to re-live the series, but to re-litigate it. I want to go through the micostats from each game and determine what either team can carry forward to this season’s version of the series.
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