Nylander caps Maple Leafs’ late comeback against Lightning with OT winner

November 5, 2021
Nylander caps Maple Leafs' late comeback against Lightning with OT winner


William Nylander scored on the power play at 3:43 of overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Thursday night to pick up their fourth straight win.

John Tavares had the other goal for Toronto (6-4-1), which got 24 stops from Jack Campbell. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner had two assists each.

Patrick Maroon replied for Tampa Bay (5-3-2). Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves as the Lightning saw their three-game winning streak snapped.

Tavares tied the game off a setup from Marner and Matthews with 41.1 seconds left in regulation with Campbell on the bench for an extra attacker after Vasilevskiy had frustrated the home side all night.

Tavares was slashed on a breakaway by Lightning captain Victor Hedman in the extra period, and Nylander blasted his team-leading fifth goal of the season on a one-timer to secure the win.

The Leafs and Lightning last played March 10, 2020 — a 2-1 Toronto victory at Scotiabank Arena over its Atlantic Division rival — before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered much of the sports world two days later.

Tampa, however, played 15 games inside the Toronto bubble as part of the league’s summer restart, including a five-overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the teams’ first-round playoff series.

The Lightning would go onto win the Stanley Cup in Edmonton against the Dallas Stars before repeating in July against the Montreal Canadiens.

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After the Lightning hit two posts inside the game’s first four minutes, Tampa jumped in front at 13:16 of the opening period.

The Leafs tried to work a set play following offensive zone faceoff, but the visitors raced the other way on an odd-man rush, with Corey Perry feathering a pass to Maroon for the big winger to bury his first of the season shortside on Campbell.

Toronto didn’t have much energy until late in the period when Hedman hooked Marner before blue-line partner Mikhail Sergachev immediately followed with an illegal check to the head on the Leafs winger.

The ensuing 5-on-3 power play for two minutes could have been a moment to lift a crowd looking for something to get excited about heading into the intermission, but was lost thanks to a disjointed sequence that saw Toronto fail to really threaten Vasilevskiy.

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Campbell made a nice stop on Brayden Point early in the second before Vasilevskiy denied Matthews and Wayne Simmonds on good chances in tight.

Simmonds had another great opportunity with under a minute to go in the period when he was sprung on the breakaway, but the Tampa goaltender denied his move to the backhand.

Vasilevskiy flashed the leather on Toronto defenceman Rasmus Sandin seven minutes into the third before William Nylander also tested him glove side.

Campbell kept his team in it with a great stop on a Point break later in the period, and Travis Dermott blocked Mathieu Joseph on the rebound before Tavares tied it late.


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