As Game 3 concluded on Saturday night, it was evident that the Toronto Maple Leafs were not playing the best skating game they usually play, however, their gameplay during the evening got it done with a win in overtime with just under a minute to go.
At the 19:15 mark of the extra period, defenseman Morgan Reilly scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning to give the Leafs the lead in the series.
The Maple Leafs’ gameplay was enough to beat the Lightning.
Auston Matthews got on the scoreboard with a nice deflection in front of the net. Noel Acciari and Ryan O’Reilly were the other Toronto goal-scorers.
Tampa was aggressive throughout the whole night, playing a tight physical game, not to mention an aggressive forecheck that notched three goals in the game.
Maple Leafs’ goaltender Ilya Samsonov was the story of the night, though, as he turned away 36 out of 39 shots in regulation, with a spectacular display of saves throughout overtime as well.
For the Toronto Maple Leafs, it is worth noting that their gameplay was not the high-tempo game that they play. Instead, the coaching strategy was to play a more conservative game, rather than, being more assertive, and that made quite the impact.
Considering that both teams played a tough physical game, the close contest was appropriate, even though the Tampa Bay Lightning put the Maple Leafs on their heels during the majority of the contest.
During the sixty minutes, the Toronto Maple Leafs had taken a couple of careless penalties. To think, Tampa could have placed a dagger in Toronto but kept icing the puck in the second period multiple times, and that was the turning point of the game.
But as Toronto’s core five assembled during the last minute of play in regulation with the net empty to put on the extra attacker, it was evident that this was the type of game the Leafs wanted to play, making Tampa create turnovers and overplaying the puck at both ends of the ice.
Toronto now has a 2-1 series lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the next game will be on Monday, April 24, 2023, at 7:30 p.m.