Leafs one win away from second round after wild comeback victory

May 11 2022, 2:11 am

What a game.

For a while, it looked like the Toronto Maple Leafs were doomed to repeat their Game 4 misery.

Thankfully for the hometown faithful, that wasn’t the case at home in Game 5.

Auston Matthews scored the eventual game-winner with six minutes remaining in the third period, leading the Maple Leafs to a 4-3 victory.

Game 6 will take place in Tampa on Thursday night.

Matthews’ goal capped off a wild third period, one in which the Lightning entered with a 2-1 lead.

After back-to-back penalties from both teams early in the third period, the Maple Leafs went to work while playing 4-on-4.

Morgan Rielly buried a sweet feed from John Tavares for his second goal of the series, tying the game at 2-2.

With both teams still playing 4-on-4, William Nylander gave Toronto the go-ahead goal,  giving Toronto their first lead of the game.

Ryan McDonagh tied the game later in the period before Matthews scored the eventual winner.

Despite the thrilling comeback, early on it looked like the Leafs might get clobbered by Tampa Bay for the second straight game.

Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman each scored their second goals of the playoffs to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead before the midway mark of the first period.

By the time the Lighting had scored twice, Toronto had only one shot on goal.

The story was similar in Game 4, where the Lightning scored three times in the first 10 minutes before Toronto even mustered three shots.

At the end of the first period in Game 5, the Lightning were outshooting Toronto 14-4.

Momentum started to swing back in Toronto’s favour when Tavares scored his first of the playoffs early in the second period.

And, after allowing two early goals, Jack Campbell was solid in net for Toronto the rest of the way.

So far in these playoffs, Campbell has been full value in Toronto’s wins. He’s stopped 86 of 91 shots during their three victories, which is good for a .945 save percentage.

In both Leafs’ losses though, the 30-year-old has allowed a combined 10 goals on 50 shots.

Tonight in Game 5 though, the Leafs bounced-back from a brutal first period thanks in part to Campbell, and offensive contributions from their top players.

If Toronto’s big guns keep clicking and they with some timely saves from Campbell, then the Leafs could be well on their way to advancing past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in 18 years.

Trevor BeggsTrevor Beggs

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