Home SPORTS Lightning win OT thriller, force Game 7 vs. Maple Leafs

Lightning win OT thriller, force Game 7 vs. Maple Leafs

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Brayden Point scored at 18:04 in overtime and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 Thursday night to force a seventh game in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

Point, who also had an assist, scored his second goal of the best-of-seven series when he knocked in a rebound during a scrum around the goal. The tally occurred after Toronto came close at the other end.

The decisive Game 7 will be played Saturday in Toronto.

Toronto overcame a 2-0 deficit with three consecutive second-period goals. Auston Matthews started the surge, and John Tavares completed it by scoring twice 26 seconds apart in the final minute.

Nikita Kucherov tied the game midway through the third period while Tampa Bay had a two-man advantage.

William Nylander added two assists for the Maple Leafs, who have not won a first-round playoff series since 2004.

Ondrej Palat and Anthony Cirelli also scored for the Lightning, who got 30 saves from Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Lightning center Brayden Point celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal.

Jack Campbell stopped 31 shots for the Maple Leafs.

Alexander Kerfoot’s turnover with the teams playing four-on-four allowed Palat to break in and score on a 23-footer to Campbell’s blocker side at 17:38 of the first period. Palat’s third goal of the series put Tampa Bay up 1-0.

Cirelli scored a short-handed goal at 10:46 of the second period to double the lead. He stole the puck in the neutral zone, broke in to beat Campbell with a spin-around shot.

Matthews answered 54 seconds later with his fourth goal of the series, deflecting Mark Giordano’s shot.

Tavares scored at 19:26 of the second on a shot from the left circle, then added his third goal of the series at 19:52 from the left circle on Nylander’s pass.

Kucherov tied the game from the slot at 9:20 of the third period with his second goal of the series while Tampa Bay was on a five-on-three power play. David Kampf and Kerfoot were serving high-sticking penalties.

Tampa Bay’s Brandon Hagel missed an open net with about three minutes left in regulation.

Tampa Bay led 30-24 in shots on goal after three periods.

Toronto had a 9-5 edge in shots on goal in overtime.

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