TAMPA BAY – SPORTS – It was a thrilling Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Tampa Bay Lightning. In a nail-biting finish at Amalie Arena on Saturday, Morgan Rielly scored at 19:15 of overtime to give the Maple Leafs a 4-3 win after a remarkable comeback.
Toronto continued to reach deep to bring their “A Game”.
“It feels good just to get the win. Ultimately, that’s truly the first thing you think about,” said Rielly. “[O’Reilly] seems to really like those moments and those challenges. His name is all over this game.”
O’Reilly had a goal and two assists, and Noel Acciari and Auston Matthews also scored for the Maple Leafs, who now lead the best-of-7 series 2-1. Mitchell Marner had two assists, and Ilya Samsonov made 36 saves to keep Toronto in the game.
“I think ‘Sammy’ was the biggest thing,” said O’Reilly. “Getting out of that second period just down by one was a huge thing. Everyone got working, and that’s a big one for us.”
Brandon Hagel had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves. Anthony Cirelli and Darren Raddysh also scored for Tampa Bay, who outshot Toronto 39-27 but were unable to seal the win.
“We think we played a great game, but it is what it is,” said Hagel. “They got one in the end and they got one in overtime, so we’re down 2-1 in the series. But it’s a seven-game series, and if we continue to play like that, I love our chances.”
Despite the loss, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos praised his team’s performance, saying, “I thought we probably, not probably, I think we did deserve to win. But give them credit, they stuck with it. That’s what really good hockey teams do, they find ways to win.”
The Maple Leafs’ head coach, Sheldon Keefe, said, “I thought the Lightning played incredibly well, but we stayed with it. Because we defended well and battled hard, they didn’t get a lot to our net.”
This game will undoubtedly go down as one of the most exciting of the playoffs so far, and we can’t wait to see what happens in Game 4.