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Brayden Point scored with less than two minutes remaining in overtime, and the Lightning survived the Maple Leafs 4-3 Thursday at Amalie Arena to extend their opening-round playoff series to a seventh and deciding game.
By avoiding elimination, Tampa Bay forced a Game 7 Saturday night in Toronto and kept its hopes for a third straight Stanley Cup championship alive for at least another game.
The Lightning jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Ondrej Palat and Anthony Cirelli, but the Maple Leafs scored three times in the second period — including twice by John Tavares over the final 34 seconds — to take a 3-2 lead into the third.
High-sticking penalties against David Kampf and Alex Kerfoot gave Tampa Bay 5-on-3 advantage in the third period, and Nikita Kucherov took advantage, scoring at 9:20 to send the game to overtime.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 of 33 shots, none more important than the nine he saved in the extra period.
Here’s how it happened:
Good pressure from Lightning to start the period
McDonagh shot from left point blocked by Tavares
Vasilevskiy stops Kerfoot at the doorstep on 3-on-2
Colton can’t connect with Hagel on cross-ice pass
Vasilevskiy stops Engvall shot from left circle
Vasilevskiy robs Mikheyev from left circle with glove save after Engvall pokes puck off Colton’s stick
Vasilevskiy saves Matthews shot from left circle
Maple Leafs ice the puck
Point can’t get stick on Killorn centering pass as his stick is tied up
Cirelli slap shot blocked by Holl
Stamkos bad-angle shot from low in the right circle saved by Campbell
McDonagh shot into traffic deflected wide
Vasilevskiy stops Kampf shot from the slot off the rush after pass from Lyubushkin
Vasilevskiy gloves Giordano shot from the left point
Puck knocked off Marner’s stick by Cernak as he drives the net after turnover by Hedman
Rielly sharp-angle shot saved by Vasilevskiy
Foote shot blocked out of play by Muzzin
Maple Leafs ice the puck
Giordano drops to the ice and possibly prevents a Point goal
Muzzin wrist shot from center point is blocked
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Marner shot blocked and goes out of the zone
Killorn shot from slot blocked by Lyubushkin
Sergachev makes great defensive play to keep rebound away from Mikheyev as he drives to the net
Vasilevskiy saves Giordano shot from the left point
Foote blocks Mikheyev shot from the slot
Maple Leafs ice the puck
Cirelli shot from left circle misses high to the glove side
Marner shot from right side goes wide
Hedman wrist shot from long range gloved by Campbell
Marner crossing pace tipped wide by Matthews
LIGHTNING GOAL! Brayden Point scores the winner with 1:56 remaining in the overtime period. Lightning win 4-3.
Vasilevskiy stops Michael Bunting shot from the left circle
Stamkos shot blocked by Muzzin
Cernak shot saved by Campbell
Stamkos shot blocked hit Nylander
Kucherov shot blocked
Sergachev wrist shot misses high
Paul passes to Hagel, who crashes into Campbell, but the puck stays out of the net
Bunting shot from the right side misses high
Kucherov shot from right circle goes wide
Campbell saves Foote shot from the right point
Kampf penalized for high-sticking, putting the Lightning on the power play with 11:48 remaining.
Kerfoot penalized for high-sticking Hedman, and the Lightning will have a two-man advantage for 1:45.
Stamkos shot from left circle blocked by Brodie
Campbell makes save on Kucherov from low on right side
Kucherov misses high
Marner breaks up a pass and clears the puck out of the zone
LIGHTNING GOAL! Kucherov scores from the right circle with Cirelli and Corey Perry setting screens in front on a 5-on-3. Lightning 3, Maple Leafs 3.
There are still 58 seconds remaining in the 5-on-4 power play
Kucherov shot saved by Campbell
The 5-on-4 power play has expired
Vasilesvskiy saves Nylander shot from the right circle
Muzzin shot from the left circle blocked by Bogosian
Vasilevskiy stops Tavares and Kerfoot in quick succession with 5:49 to play
Killorn shoots wide off the rush
Campbell saves Hedman shot from long range
Hagel shoots behind Campbell and through the crease after Paul skated out from behind the net and made a nice cross-ice pass
Lightning ice the puck with 41.8 seconds to play
Lightning win defensive-zone faceoff against Matthews
Lightning ice the puck
Paul blocks Matthews shot from the left circle
Vasilevskiy saves Nylander shot with 17.7 left
Vasilevskiy smothers Riley shot from the right point with two Maple Leafs in front
(Lightning and Maple Leafs tied at 3 after regulation)
Lightning will have 1:33 remaining on the power play to start the period
Bouncing pass for Kerfoot steered clear of the net by Vasilevskiy
Hedman slap shot from the center point blocked
Bogosian shot from the right point goes high over Campbell’s shoulder
Giordano wrist shot from the right point is tipped up over the net
Hagel blocks a Kase shot off the shin pad and appears the worse for wear
Vasilevskiy makes back to back saves on Ilya Lyubushkin from the high slot and Matthews from the left circle
McDonagh shot from the left circle saved by Campbell
Muzzin shot from the right circle off misses wide
Kucherov moves around a defender and gets off a backhand shot that Campbell fights off
Bogosian drive from the point saved by Campbell
Cernak pass picked off by Marner, but the Lightning recover
Cal Foote penalized for hooking Mikheyev, putting Toronto on the power play, 10:58 left in the period
Vasilevskiy puts his stick down to thwart Marner attempt from the side of the net
Nylander shot from the left circle is blocked, and the Lightning clear the puck
Sergachev knocks Nylander off the puck, and the Lightning get another clear
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare skates the puck out of the Tampa Bay zone
LIGHTNING GOAL! Cirelli scores shorthanded, leaning into Mark Giordano, then spinning and flinging a shot at the net. Lightning lead 2-0.
MAPLE LEAFS GOAL: Matthews scores on a tip in front of a Giordano shot that appeared to be going wide of the net. Lightning lead 2-1.
Engvall spins and flings a shot at the net, and Vasilevskiy stops Kampf backhander from in front
Rielly shot misses high
Stamkos shot from the right circle redirected past the far post
Vasilevskiy stops Kerfoot wrister from low in the right circle with Kase crashing from the opposite side
Mikheyev shot from in tight doesn’t go
Holl poke-checks puck off Kucherov’s stuck in the left circle after Kucherov had him beaten
Foote prevents Mikheyev from getting shot away after a stretch pass
Campbell stops Palat shot
Stamkos shot blocked by Matthews
MAPLE LEAFS GOAL: John Tavares scores after a shot from the left circle crept up and over Vasilevskiy with 0:33 to play. Lightning 2, Maple Leafs 2.
MAPLE LEAFS GOAL: John Tavares scores top shelf with 7.8 seconds left in the period. Maple Leafs lead 3-2
(Maple Leafs lead 3-2 after two periods)
William Nylander shoots wide of Andrei Vasilevskiy
Steven Stamkos shot from the right circle off the rush misses high
Zach Bogosian defends against 2-on-1 and then knocks down Nylander
Auston Matthews centering pass knocked away by Vasilevskiy
Alex Kerfoot misses Ilya Mikheyev with stretch pass
Ryan McDonagh wrist shot saved by Jack Campbell
Cal Foote shot from the right point knocked down in front
Ondrej Kase shot from the right circle blocked by Erik Cernak
Mikheyev wrist shot misses wide
Alex Killorn backhander saved by Campbell
TJ Brodie blocks Anthony Cirelli shot
David Kampf quick shot from the slot blocked by Brayden Point, goes up and over the net
Campbell saves Ondrej Palat blast from the inner left circle after a nice pass from Steven Stamkos, then leaps in the air to snare the rebound
Cal Foote wrist shot into traffic deflects into the corner
Nikita Kucherov shot from the slot saved by Campbell after a faceoff win by Stamkos
Cernak shot from the right point saved by Campbell
Auston Matthews shot off the rush saved by Vasilevsky after Nylander sprung free into the Lightning zone
Kase shot from low in the left circle saved by Vasilevskiy after nice pass from Colin Blackwell
Pierre Engvall shot from the right point blocked by McDonagh
Justin Holl penalized for interference, Nick Paul for embellishment, setting up 4-on-4 for two minutes
Vasilevskiy stops Nylander shot from the left circle after Nylander stripped Kucherov off the puck in the neutral zone
Point drives the net but can’t get a shot off
LIGHTNING GOAL! Palat scores top shelf from the right circle after a blind backwards pass by Alex Kerfoot sends him in alone into the Maple Leafs zone. Lightning lead 1-0.
Marner shot saved by Vasilevskiy after Cirelli turnover in the neutral zone
Morgan Rielly penalized for tripping Palat, putting the Lightning on the power play
Campbell stops one-timer from Stamkos
(Lightning lead 1-0 after one period)
Pregame scouting report
It all comes down to tonight.
Well, and Saturday night, the Lightning hope. And beyond.
Beat the Maple Leafs in Game 6 of their opening-round series tonight at Amalie Arena, and the Bolts will force a do-or-die Game 7 Saturday in Toronto. Win there, and they’ll advance to the second round of the playoffs.
But lose tonight, and their hopes for a three-peat will end suddenly on the same ice where they hoisted a second straight Stanley Cup just 10 months ago.
How did we get to this point so quickly?
Start with a third-place finish in the Atlantic Division during the regular-season that resulted in a first-round showdown against a team that matches up well against the Lightning, one that can match their offensive firepower, has an even better power play and creates dangerous scoring chances even on the penalty kill.
Add a tightly called series that limited the amount of 5-on-5 play and Tampa Bay’s propensity for committing senseless penalties, such as delay of game, too many men on the ice or careless stick fouls.
Not that the situation is hopeless, by any means. Tampa Bay has risen to the occasion time and time again over the past three postseasons, winning 16 consecutive times in games immediately following a loss, including twice already in this series.
Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy typically is at his best when his team has needed him most, and stars Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point seem to thrive under pressure.
The Lightning also have an experienced locker room that has won eight consecutive postseason series dating to 2020, while the Maple Leafs have not advanced beyond the first round since 2004, losing their past eight series-clinching games.
Of course, the Bolts still have to get the job done on the ice. And that will mean playing with pace, doing a better job defensively, staying out of the penalty box and locking the Leafs down late if they get the lead.
Follow our live updates, starting at 7:30 p.m., as the Lightning hope to stave off elimination and keep their championship hopes alive for at least another game.
Game day scene
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