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Level scores in OT as Lightning beat Maple Leafs 4-3 to power Recreation 7

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TAMPA, Fla. –


Brayden Level scored at 18:04 of additional time because the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on Thursday to power a seventh and deciding recreation of their first-round playoff collection.


The winger buried the winner on a rebound between the legs of Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell after Alex Killorn took the preliminary shot.


Ondrej Palat, Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov had the opposite objectives for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, who improved to an eye-popping 17-0 following a post-season loss since 2020.


Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 photographs. Level additionally had an help for a two-point night time.


John Tavares, with two, and Auston Matthews replied for Toronto, which hasn’t moved onto the second spherical since 2004 and is now 0-8 in elimination video games during the last 5 playoffs.


Jack Campbell made 31 saves. William Nylander added two assists.


The Leafs will now head house for Saturday’s Recreation 7 desperately trying to exorcise the demons of previous spring failures with the load of historical past and expectation hanging round their collective neck.


Toronto is 7-2 all-time at house in Recreation 7s, however misplaced at Scotiabank Enviornment final season after blowing a 3-1 collection lead in opposition to the Montreal Canadiens.


Vasilevskiy has gained each one of many contests that make up Tampa’s 17-0 report after a loss within the final three playoffs, placing up a .945 save share with 5 shutouts in 16 victories earlier than Thursday.


The 2019 Vezina Trophy winner and final season’s Conn Smythe Trophy recipient hasn’t been his typical stellar self within the collection – his save share stood at .880 heading into Thursday – however did sufficient on this night time to get his group to Recreation 7.


Trailing 2-0 within the second interval after Cirelli’s highlight-reel effort with Tampa short-handed, Matthews – named one in every of three finalists for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP earlier within the day – responded together with his fourth of the playoffs 54 seconds later when he tipped Mark Giordano’s level shot.


Tavares then tied it with 33.7 seconds left within the interval when Vasilevskiy could not management the rebound with Jason Spezza swatting on the fluttering puck earlier than it bounced over the objective line.


Toronto‘s captain then gave his group – which additionally fought again from a 2-0 deficit at house to win Recreation 5 by a 4-3 scoreline – its first lead of the night time with 7.8 seconds remaining on the clock when he buried his third in as many video games inside a shocked Amalie Enviornment.


The Lightning received a two-man benefit for 1:45 halfway by way of the third when David Kampf and Alexander Kerfoot had been whistled for high-sticking in fast succession, and Kucherov tied the rating at 9:20 when he fired his second on Campbell.


The Leafs complained Tampa ahead Brayden Level’s chin strap was undone in the course of the sequence, however the objective stood.


Brandon Hagel then had an excellent likelihood to offer Tampa the lead late in regulation, however he missed the online from in tight with Campbell at his mercy.


Toronto had a pair nice probabilities early in additional time, however Vasilevskiy was there to disclaim each Kerfoot and Ilya Mikheyev.


After getting their doorways blown off early on the identical ice in Recreation 4 on the best way to struggling a 7-3 loss, the Leafs had a good begin, however went down with the groups taking part in 4-on-4 late within the first.


Kerfoot made an ill-advised drop cross within the impartial zone to nobody. Palat jumped on the turnover and moved in on Campbell earlier than firing his third of the playoffs below Campbell’s blocker with 2:22 left within the interval.


Tampa received the sport’s first energy play with 28 seconds left within the interval, however the Leafs survived and received to the intermission regardless of Lightning captain Steven Stamkos rattling Campbell’s masks on a depraved one-timer.


Vasilevskiy made massive stops on Ilya Lyubushkin and Matthews on the rebound early within the second earlier than the Leafs received their first energy play.


But it surely was the Lightning that struck down a person when Cirelli picked up the puck following a Mark Giordano turnover – Toronto‘s second essential mistake of the night time – and moved into the offensive zone. The Tampa centre moved in one-on-one in opposition to Giordano and used a spin-o-rama to create house earlier than firing low on Campbell for his first of the collection at 10:46.


This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Could 12, 2022.

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