Leafs tie up series with dominant Game 2 win over Lightning
After being dominated in the series opener, the Toronto Maple Leafs flipped the script in Game 2.
Mitch Marner scored just 47 seconds into the game, his first of two goals, and the Leafs never looked back in a dominant 7-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
47 seconds into Game 2 and Mitch Marner (@Marner93) gets the @MapleLeafs on the board! 🍁 #StanleyCup
🇺🇸: @espn ➡️ https://t.co/M6r7QZpDVA
🇨🇦: @Sportsnet ➡️ https://t.co/uEVY6yYjf7 #NHLonSN pic.twitter.com/ouwTjGVH91
— NHL (@NHL) April 20, 2023
Marner wasn’t the only Leaf to post a multi-goal effort, as captain John Tavares registered his first career playoff hat trick.
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN! pic.twitter.com/LLUi5wkVVd
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 20, 2023
William Nylander and Zach Aston-Reese scored the other goals for Toronto.
The complete performance from the Leafs eerily matched what the Lightning were able to do against Toronto in Game 1.
Just like Tampa in Game 1, the Leafs led 3-0 after the first period. They continued their copycat performance by scoring six goals total before the end of the second period, and finishing with seven goals total in the convincing win.
The Lightning were missing Victor Hedman and Erik Cernak, two of their top three blueliners, and Toronto certainly took advantage.
Ian Cole and Nick Perbix struggled in an elevated role. The defensive pair were on the ice for three goals against at even-strength.
Goaltender Ilya Samsonov had a bounce-back performance after a shaky game one, stopping 19 of 21 shots.
It was just his second win in 10 playoff starts.
The game had some feistiness to it as well, and it started from an unlikely source.
Leafs defenceman Mark Giordano, who is the oldest player in the entire NHL playoffs at 39 years old, got into a fight with Lightning blueliner Zach Bogosian less than five minutes into the game.
It is on tonight!
Bally Sports+ is a new option for watching Lightning games. Learn more here ➡️ https://t.co/Qd5xnvaL8E#NHL | #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/idOwmtTIwt
— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) April 20, 2023
With a victory well within Toronto’s grasp in the third period, things started to get a little chippy.
Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn dropped the gloves with Lightning forward Tanner Jeannot, who made his playoff debut for Tampa Bay.
A heavyweight battle between Jeannot and Schenn! #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/kaj5uEWZfi
— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) April 21, 2023
While Jeannot was in the penalty box, a Maple Leafs fan started harassing the Lightning winger.
A Maple Leafs fan started messing with Tanner Jeannot in the penalty box 👀 pic.twitter.com/hXEsQihbtS
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 21, 2023
Shortly thereafter, Corey Perry tried to chase the Gordie Howe hat trick, by scoring the Lightning’s second goal just minutes before dropping the gloves with Maple Leafs blueliner Justin Holl.
Mikhail Sergachev and Pat Maroon were also handed game misconducts before Toronto wrapped up the victory.
The Lightning will host Toronto during Game 3 at 7:00 pm EST on Saturday night. Tampa Bay had the second-best home record in the NHL during the regular season, going 28-8-5.
However, Toronto’s star players have shown up so far in the series.
Nylander has now scored in both games, while Marner finished the game as the temporary league-leader in playoff points. Despite being criticized in previous seasons for his playoff performances, Marner currently leads the NHL with six points in two postseason games.
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