Lightning down Maple Leafs 4-2 to force Game 6

Michael Eishmont scored a goal and an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Thursday to advance to Game 6 of the first round of the playoff series.

Anthony Cirelli scored for Tampa with a goal and an assist as Nick Paul and Alex Killorn entered an empty net. Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded his 28 saves.

Morgan Riley and Ouston Matthews answered back for Toronto who scored 34 stops from Ilya Samsonov. John Tavares he recorded two assists.

The Leafs still lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2.

Game 6 takes place in Tampa on Saturday. If desired, Game 7 will be held at Scotiabank Arena on Monday.

After failing to make the postseason since 2004 and losing to the Lightning in seven games in the first round last spring, Toronto has been 0-10 since 2018 and has a chance to eliminate postseason opponents.

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Tied 1-1 after an energetic first period, the Lightning took the lead at 4:24 in the second, with Eishmont scoring his first goal of the series as he used the pads to beat Samsonov from a tough angle. rice field.

Tampa were just two points up the rush when Bradenpoint shot from the post.

The period ended in controversy when Pat Maroon squashed Toronto defenseman Mark Giordano into the board from behind. The first play was not called, but the bruised Tampa winger was served a roughing penalty for the ensuing scrum.

Giordano rejoined his teammates on the bench shortly after the restart after being seen by his trainer.

The Leafs had a few chances on the ensuing power play, but Vasilevski was there at every turn, denying Mitch Marner on a breakaway.

Samsonov then kept the team with a big glovestop to Stephen Stamkos.

However, Paul made it 3–1 with his first goal at 11:54 in the third after the Leafs goalie bumped into teammate David Kamp.

The home side pulled within one point with 3:34 left in regulation, with Matthews on the loose pack for the fourth time, third in the last two games and Samsonov on the bench as an additional attacker.

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The Leafs continued to search desperately for a tie, sending the team into three straight overtime before Quilone sealed it with five seconds remaining.

Toronto, on a six-game losing streak since 2017, opened the scoring at 4:46 in the first when Lierie — the longest-serving leaf — pulled out of the slot for the series after Tavares beat three Lightning players into the puck and set them on fire. Scored the third. A crowd waving towels inside the bubbly Scotiabank Arena.

The Lightning, who had won the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021 before losing to the Colorado Avalanche in the finals last year and were trying to keep their season alive, reacted just 26 seconds later when Cirelli scored the third goal from the scramble. bottom.

Vasilevski, who conceded 16 goals in three matches on Thursday, gave the Toronto players an advantage in the second half and appeared to win the Vezina Trophy with several big stops.

Fans queued for hours just to secure a spot for the viewing party outside the rink at Maple Leaf Square, getting the chance to get close to a team that looked set to advance to the second round for the first time in almost 20 years. rice field.

Ticket resale websites showed seats priced hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars above face value leading up to the first showdown.

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Tampa defeated Toronto, 7-3, in Game 1, but lost after Eric Sarnak received a fraudulent check to the head from Leafs winger Michael Bunting.

Toronto won 7–2 two nights later, snapping back-to-back wins in overtime in Tampa after Bunting served the first serve of a three-game suspension. The 3-1 series lead is now positioned at his less comfortable 3-2.

Eishimon is back

The Lightning forward wore a suit for the first time since he was knocked out of Game 1 by a hard hit by Leafs defenseman Jake McCabe. Eyssimont’s inclusion meant Tanner Jeannot was watching from his box at the press.

bunting sit

The gritty Toronto native was eligible to return to the lineup after being suspended for three games, but Leafs head coach Sheldon Keef opted to keep the same lineup for four straight games. Did. Bunting was a regular in his season where he scored 23 goals and he scored 49 points.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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