The Toronto Maple Leafs have done the unthinkable, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 in overtime despite trailing by three with only ten minutes to go. After an incredible victory on Saturday night, the blue and white somehow made Game 4 even more memorable. The Maple Leafs have now taken both games on the road, setting up for a Game 5 at home with a chance to advance.
In the first period, the Tampa Bay Lightning came out hot from the opening puck drop. After dominating play early, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn scored his first of the series. The 33-year-old forward was found backdoor, all alone for a routine tap-in. After the Bolts went up by a goal, they didn’t stop there as this time; it was Mikhail Sergachev who beat Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov. After a wicked pass from Lightning star Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail had the time and space to wrist one through the Leafs goaltender. The Tampa Bay Lightning went into the first intermission up 2-0, outshooting Toronto 12-5.
In the middle frame of this one, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally started to show signs of life. Although it wasn’t a perfect period by any stretch, Maple Leafs trade deadline acquisition Noel Acciari scored a big-time goal. Not too long after the Maple Leafs started to make a game of this one, Lightning star Steven Stamkos scored his first of the series. It was a lucky goal that ricocheted off the skate of the 33-year-old, restoring the Bolts two goal advantage. Once Tampa Bay went ahead 3-1, Lightning veteran forward Alex Killorn added his second of the game. Alex’s goal couldn’t have come at a better time, sending the Lightning up by three into intermission.
Once the final frame kicked off, Leafs nation was left feeling disappointed until Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews decided to take over this one, kickstarting the Maple Leafs comeback. Once the 25-year-old scored the Maple Leafs second goal of the night, Auston double-dipped as he added another making it 4-3 Lightning in rapid fashion. As the clock was ticking, the Maple Leafs couldn’t pull another last-minute goal again, could they? Well, long-time Maple Leaf defenseman Morgan Rielly beat Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky, which tied at four heading into the overtime. Maple Leafs Square was going absolutely wild as Toronto found a way to do the unthinkable.
In overtime, the Tampa Bay Lightning certainly didn’t look like the same team that opened up tonight’s game. After the Maple Leafs kept peppering Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky, the blue and white finally broke through. A harmless wrist-shot from the point by Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano was deflected by teammate Alexander Kerfoot. The deflection was perfectly executed, securing the Leafs second victory on the road. Once the puck entered the Lightning goal, the city of Toronto went crazy as fans across the globe unified as one.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will have a chance to knock out the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday at Scotiabank Arena. Despite the series score being 3-1 Toronto, taking these games one game at a time is important. The Maple Leafs will have enjoyed a much-needed off day before the return to action as the Leafs host Game 5.
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