Tampa Bay Lightning, Leafs

Lightning On The Brink After Third-Period Collapse, Another Overtime Defeat

Tampa Bay Lightning Leafs
Credit: Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. – It doesn’t seem possible, but dating to last year’s Stanley Cup final against Colorado the Lightning have lost four straight playoff games at Amalie Arena. Monday night’s Game 4 defeat against the Maple Leafs, though, really stung.

The Bolts had a 4-1 lead midway through the third period. Coming out with a win with such advantage in recent years has been about as certain as death and taxes. Not this time as Tampa Bay fell, 5-4, in overtime.

Toronto leads the series, 3-1, with a chance to wrap it up at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday evening.

“I don’t think we were sitting back,” said coach Jon Cooper, whose team has lost nine of their last 10 overtime games in the postseason. “What is that cliché, ‘play not to lose.’ Guys were trying, but maybe with a little bit of a mindset we will close this one out. Toronto had different ideas.”

The Leafs certainly did. They scored three goals in 6:20 to knot the score, with the tying goal off Morgan Rielly’s stick with 3:56 remaining. Toronto carried the momentum into overtime and went on the powerplay when William Nylander was tripped by Mikhail Sergachev, a good penalty to take as Nylander was about to get a point-blank shot on Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Related news: Lightning Lose Game 3 In Overtime, Trail Leafs

With 14 seconds left on the man advantage, and at 4:14 of OT, Alex Kefoot deflected Mark Giordano’s shot past Vasilevskiy for the game-winner.

“I think we have to look at the big picture, and we are still coming to the rink,” said Cooper. “The series is not done yet.”

There will be two days off with Game 5 on Thursday evening (7:00) in Toronto. Should the Lightning prolong the series, Game 6 will be at Amalie on Saturday at a time to be determined.

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