TAMPA BAY – SPORTS – The best of seven game series is tied up at two games each. The Tampa Bay Lightning, the back to back Stanley Cup winners are presenting a challenge for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three goals in the first 7:58 of the first period, racing out to a lead that evened their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs with a 7-3 win in Game 4 at Amalie Arena on Sunday.
Game 5 is at Toronto on Tuesday.
“We scored early and often,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “Usually when you do that, you’re putting the team on their heels and that was the game.”
Ross Colton scored twice, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves for Tampa Bay, the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Division. Nikita Kucherov, Brandon Hagel and Victor Hedman each had two assists.
“Anytime you can hop out to an early lead, it’s going to give our team some momentum,” Colton said. “We knew they weren’t going to go away. I think that’s a credit to the guys in the locker room that instead of sitting back and let them take it to us we kind of say, ‘Hey, let’s get the next one and the next one after that.'”
William Nylander scored twice for Toronto, the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic. Jack Campbell allowed five goals on 16 shots before he was pulled in the second period. Erik Kallgren made 10 saves in relief.
“We were not at the required level,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Tampa played at a higher level than us and got rewarded for it.”