The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Florida Panthers 2-1 in overtime on Monday night! After a spectacular performance from goaltender Ilya Samsonov, the blue and white held on getting the full two points in Matthew Knies debut. Even though the Florida Panthers came out strong, the cats just couldn’t beat Ilya Samsonov late, as the 26-year-old put on a show for the team’s forty-eighth win of the season.
In the first period, the Florida Panthers, who were fighting for their playoff lives, came out absolutely flying, dominating the shot totals seven to one early. After peppering Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov for the bulk of the first twenty minutes, the blue and white just held on, heading into the intermission tied at zero. Leafs top prospect Matthew Knies who was making his National Hockey League debut, had a successful first period. Despite not getting anything to show for it, the 20-year-old had a nice shift down low, setting up a goal-scoring opportunity for his linemates. The shots were fifteen to eight in favor of the Panthers after the first period.
In the second period, it was again the Florida Panthers who controlled play early, but this time the Maple Leafs put up a much better fight. After getting some opportunities of their own on Panthers goaltender Alex Lyon, late in the second period, Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews broke the deadlock. After a Mitch Marner shot from the point caught the stick of Auston Matthews, the Panthers goaltender couldn’t pick it up quick enough as it just snuck through his arm. The 25-year-old Leafs star scored his fortieth of the season, giving the Leafs a one-to-nothing lead heading into the third.
Once the third period was underway, it was the Maple Leafs who looked like the better side early. However, that didn’t last long once Florida stole the momentum again. After coming in waves at the Leafs goaltender for the majority of the night, Ilya Samsonov was absolutely incredible! However, a pass from Carter Verhaeghe into the slot for teammate Brandon Montour was converted. The Florida Panthers tied the game at one with just over ten minutes remaining. Once the Florida Panthers scored, both sides traded chances with each other, but neither side could beat the clock. After a hard-fought sixty minutes between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers, we were heading to overtime.
After a dominant start in overtime for the Florida Panthers, an unlucky turnover sent Maple Leafs captain John Tavares the other way for a breakaway. Making no mistake, the 32-year-old veteran took the puck across the goal of Alex Lyon, shifting to his backhand and going up high. The Maple Leafs captain came in clutch, sealing the Blue and Whites two to one victory in overtime. The Maple Leafs will be right back at it again tomorrow night, this time against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second game of a back-to-back.
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