The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in Game 3! After a tightly contested battle between the two sides needed overtime, long-time Maple Leaf star Morgan Rielly was the hero last night in Tampa Bay. The blue and white have now taken a 2-1 series lead, heading into Tuesday night’s Game 4.
As soon as the puck was dropped, the Bolts came out ready, testing Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov early. Once both teams settled into this one, a pass in the slot to Leafs forward Noel Acciari was converted, opening up the scoring only 3:24 into the game. However, that didn’t last long as Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli beat Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov to tie the game up right away. Barely a minute after the Maple Leafs took an early lead, this one was tied again.
Around the mid-way mark of the first period, a point shot from Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner was deflected in front by teammate Auston Matthews for the Leafs second goal. The blue and white went ahead 2-1 only 11:10 into Game 3 but couldn’t hold onto the lead going into the intermission. With under a minute to go in the period, an awkward shot by Bolts forward Brandon Hagel bounced off the equipment of Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov and ended up in the Maple Leafs goal. The game was tied at two apiece heading into intermission.
In the second period, the Tampa Bay Lightning continued how they finished the first, peppering Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov with shots. The 26-year-old Toronto goaltender stood strong, bailing out the Maple Leafs for most of the period. However, 13:34 into the second period, Bolts defenseman Darren Raddysh scored a beautiful goal, giving Tampa Bay their first lead of the night. The 27-year-old defenseman took the puck behind the Leafs net, turning into the slot, and beat Ilya Samsonov up high. After a strong period of play by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the score finished 3-2 heading into the second intermission.
In the final frame of this one, things certainly started to heat up. With the Maple Leafs trailing by a goal, the pressure ramped up, which led to some fireworks. After an awkward collision between Leafs Morgan Rielly and Tampa’s Brayden Point, both sides started to get physical. It was definitely an unusual scene that led to Lightning star Steven Stamkos getting into it with Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews.
Once both sides returned to action, the Tampa Bay Lightning defended exceptionally well, giving Toronto little to work with. However, when it looked like Tampa was going to win this one, a pass down low from William Nylander to teammate Ryan O’Reilly set up the teams tying goal in the final minute. The puck just trickled through Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky, sending us to overtime.
In overtime, both sides came out ready, but nobody was more locked in than Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov. In the opening ten minutes, Lightning stars Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point both had their respective chances, but the Maple Leafs goaltender stood strong, keeping the Maple Leafs in this one. Just when it looked like we would need a second overtime, Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly sent a shot from the point, beating the Lightning goaltender. The 29-year-old Maple Leafs defenseman came up clutch, sending Toronto up 2-1 in the series heading into Game 4.
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