4. Comeback Attempt was Commendable
The Toronto Maple Leafs nearly mounted a comeback in the last ten minutes of the game, and this should be an encouraging sign.
Going down 5-1 would have usually meant a “Okay, go next” reaction, but this team didn’t quit, scoring two goals and pushing for the fourth before time ran out. Had they done this earlier in the game, they would have had a chance to win but it was too little too late for this one. I had hope that they could score on the powerplay and maybe score again 6 on 5 with the empty net. They had chances, but Andrei Vasilevskiy shut the door on them.
Mitch Marner started the comeback with a wrist shot goal that was a bit of a knuckle ball, not very fast but found its way past the defense and traffic in front. It was a bit fluky, but when you’re desperate for goals you take them. Alex Kerfoot then added to the attempt with a SHG during a penalty kill that generated more chances for than the Lighting had.
While the Leafs lost, I saw the last few minutes as encouraging. They didn’t quit until the final buzzer. This type of effort and awareness must be there at the start of Game 3, and with a hostile environment they will have to be on their A-game. Home ice advantage is a real thing, and they have to take one from the Lightning on the road to take it back.