The 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing with Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs squaring off for what has been a round-one highlight.
The Lightning came out in game one and racked up seven goals for the 7-3 win.
Tampa Bay suffered multiple injuries in game one including an undisclosed injury to defenseman Victor Hedman in the first period, and most notably a head injury to Erik Cernak.
Cernak took an elbow to the head from Toronto winger Michael Bunting and had to leave the ice midway through the second period.
Nonetheless, the Bolts came up with an early series lead.
Heck of a Game 1, boys. ⚡️
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 19, 2023
Toronto gave the Lightning a taste of their own medicine with a 7-2 triumph in game two.
John Tavares came out with a hat trick for the Leafs and Mitchell Marner racked up two goals. After goals by Tavares, Marner, and Willian Nylander in the first period, the Leafs held an early 3-0 lead.
The scoring continued until Tavares’ final goal in the third period.
Game three was a thrilling matchup to break the 1-1 first-round tie.
The game was scrappy throughout the ice time and went into a shocking overtime finish. Brayden Point suffered a scary hit into the boards by Morgan Rielly and was down on the ice. Point returned to the game just minutes later to finish out the game.
Late in the third, the Lightning seemed to have the victory in their back pockets. With one minute left in regulation, Ryan O’Reilly scored to tie up the game 3-3. In a similar fashion, Morgan Rielly scored with less than a minute left in overtime to bring the series to 2-1 in the Leafs’ favor.
MO *RIELLY* CALLED GAME!! pic.twitter.com/ZKKBjslPdS
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 23, 2023
What To Expect
Injuries have been weighing heavily on the Lightning early in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Brayden Point’s injury status will be a game-time decision heading into Amalie Arena. Erik Cernak will miss his third straight game after the head injury he suffered in game one.
The series has been very physical thus far and game four should be nothing short of what the teams have shown so far. Game three was a tough pill to swallow for the Lighting, yet home ice advantage on Monday may be enough to tip the ship back up.