The Tampa Bay Lightning came out swinging in the opening game of the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs, scoring three goals in the first period.
The Lightning’s “big three” were on full display as Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Anthony Cirelli, and Nikita Kucherov all found the back of the net.
The Tampa Bay Lightning kicked off their return to the Stanley Cup in style
The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three goals in the first period to mark an emphatic return to the Stanley Cup.
The first goal came with 18:41 left on the clock, when Corey Perry skated behind the net and fired a shot from between the faceoff circles. Maple Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov made the initial save, but the rebound fell to Bellemare, who slammed it home for a 1-0 lead. It was a gritty, hard-fought goal, emblematic of Bellemare’s style of play.
The second goal came just a few minutes later, as Anthony Cirelli beat Samsonov off a rebound from a Brandon Hagel shot. Cirelli has been a key player for the Lightning all season long, providing solid two-way play and timely scoring. His goal gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead and put the Maple Leafs on their heels.
The third goal was perhaps the most impressive, as Nikita Kucherov slapped a shot past Samsonov on the power play with just seconds left in the period. Kucherov was set up by Mikhail Sergachev and Alex Killorn, who have been instrumental in the Lightning’s success all season long.
The goal showcased Kucherov’s incredible offensive talent and the Lightning’s ability to create scoring chances with their power play.
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s three-goal outburst in the first period set the tone for the rest of the game. The Maple Leafs, who have been one of the best teams in the league all season long, were clearly caught off guard by the Lightning’s relentless attack. The Lightning’s “big three” had put on a clinic, showcasing their speed, skill, and toughness.
The Tampa Bay Lightning found the back of the net and bested Samsonov on only 15 shots to silence the home Maple Leafs crowd. They were heavy underdogs to the Maple Leafs to begin the series, so it will be interesting to see how the Maple Leafs respond after being preverbically “punched in the mouth”.
Tampa Bay’s three-goal first period in the opening game of the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs was a pivotal moment in the game. The Lightning’s “big three” forwards of Pierre-Edward Bellemare, Anthony Cirelli, and Nikita Kucherov were all instrumental in the Lightning’s success, showcasing their speed, skill, and toughness. It created a lead that could be nearly insurmountable for the Maple Leafs in the next two periods.