Well, the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t roll over and die when the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled into town. The result was an 8-1 drubbing by the home team. It was the most goals the Maple Leafs had given up on the season and perhaps reminds everyone that the reigning Stanley Cup champions deserve to be considered.
In this edition of Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I’ll look at three events of the game and comment on what they might mean to the team moving forward.
Related: Six Reasons to Get Excited About this Maple Leafs’ Postseason ChancesRelated: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 5-2 Win Over the Flyers
Takeaway One: Congratulations to Steven Stamkos
Hometown Markham, Ontario, native Steven Stamkos is one of the best players in the NHL. He scored his 34th goal of the season and, by doing so, became the Lightning’s all-time scoring leader. His goal-scoring adversary with the Maple Leafs – Auston Matthews – sat out his third game in a row.
Stamkos was chosen by the Lightning as the first overall pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The goal was – here I go with Matthews analogies again – a one-timer from the left faceoff circle. It was his record-breaking 954th point for a Tampa Bay player and moved him past the Montreal Canadiens’ current coach Martin St. Louis. St. Louis has scored 365 goals and 588 assists (for 953 points) in his time with the Lightning.
Congratulations to Stamkos from NHLTradeTalk.com.
Item Two: The Will to Win Will Be a Key in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
If there’s going to be a first-round playoff matchup between these two teams, the groundwork was laid last night. The Lightning showed the Maple Leafs that they wouldn’t go quietly. In fact, the number of penalties drawn suggests that it could be a physical series.
Both teams combined for 114 penalty minutes. That total included five misconduct penalties and a match penalty against the Maple Leafs’ tough guy Kyle Clifford.
After the game, when speaking with the media, Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe noted that, ”It was clear that the game meant more to them tonight than it meant to us. And it showed in how they played, how they competed.”
In the end, there were probably three good things about the game for the Maple Leafs. Perhaps it was better to get beat on by an 8-1 score than to lose 2-1 in regulation. Second, sadly for Erik Kallgren to get lit up than Jack Campbell. Third, Matthews wasn’t playing and was watching. He had to want to get into the action.
Item Three: Thanks to Ilya Mikheyev for Helping His Team Avoid a Shutout
If it were not for Ilya Mikheyev’s power-play goal, the Maple Leafs would have been shut out. The goal came late in the game and, from most points of view was inconsequential; however, scoring once is better than throwing up a zero.
Ilya on the power play pic.twitter.com/KosHc2BwC5
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 22, 2022
The 27-year-old Mikheyev has now registered five points in his last five games. With one more goal, he’ll have scored 20 goals (with 10 assists) on the season in 49 games.
A congratulatory video was shown on the scoreboard, narrated by St. Louis.
”To do it at home against the team that I grew up idolizing,” said Stamkos, who is from Markham, Ontario. ”Then having, (Kucherov) and (Victor Hedman) assist on a one-time shot. Then my parents were here and my wife was here … to do it at home. Then to have Marty come out and do that. I mean, I don’t really think of myself as an emotional guy, but that really hit me. It was just an amazing, amazing experience.”
Stamkos, who added two assists, has 473 goals and 483 assists in 917 career games, all with Tampa Bay.
Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 5-2 Win Over the Flyers
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