The Toronto Maple Leafs (34-19-5) knocked off the Tampa Bay Lightning (38-15-3) 4-3 on Monday night in Ontario.
The first period was a pretty evenly matched contest between the two clubs, and saw each team with a couple of great scoring chances. It was Toronto who was able to capitalize on one of them when William Nylander scored at the 11:55 mark to take a 1-0 lead. All told each team had nine shots in the period but Toronto took that one goal lead into the first intermission.
The second period was a different story, as Toronto was able to take advantage of some key opportunities. William Nylander was in the middle of it again, scoring on a breakaway at the 3:08 mark to give the Leafs a 2-0 lead. Jake Gardiner came through with a score at the 11:36 mark to give Toronto a 3-0 lead and it looked as though the home team may run away with this contest.
As they have all season long, though, the Lightning pushed back. It begin when Alex Killorn swiped a goal at the 15:58 mark of the second period. Heading into the third period down two, the Bolts had a huge answer waiting early in the frame. First Nikita Kucherov blasted a goal just fifty-eight seconds in to pull Tampa Bay within one. It took the Lightning just twenty more seconds to tie the game, this time courtesy of Yanni Gourde, and it was a new hockey game. Toronto was able to get just the answer they needed, though, when James van Riemsdyk scored at the 4:37 mark of the period to give the Leafs a 4-3 lead. That would be all the goals the Maple Leafs would need - the Lightning had several great scoring opportunities the remainder of the period, but could get none of them past Leafs goalie Frederik Anderson and Toronto would hang on for the win.
Anderson finished with 31 saves in 34 shots on net for Toronto, while Andrei Vasilevskiy went 19-for-23 in net for the Lightning. Tampa Bay won’t have time to fret on this one, as they return to action on Tuesday night in Buffalo. Puck drop between the Bolts and the Sabres is set for 7 PM - coverage begins at 6:30 on News Radio 970 WFLA.
1. TOR - Nylander - (Matthews, Gardiner) - 11:55
1. TOR - Nylander - (Matthews, Marner) - 3:08
2. TOR - Gardiner - (Nylander, Matthews) - 11:36
3. TBL - Killorn - (Point, Kucherov) - 15:59
1. TBL - Kucherov - (Killorn) - :0:58
2. TBL - Gourde - (Coburn, Stamkos) - 1:18
3. TOR - van Riemsdyk - (Bozak) - 4:37
1. TBL - Kucherov - (Hooking) - 13:20
2. TOR - Zaitsev - (Tripping) - 16:02
1. TOR - Bozak - (Tripping) 13:22
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 34
Toronto - 23