August 16, 2022

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9:55 PM ET Tampa Bay’s pursuit of a 3rd consecutive Stanley Cup continues after the...

9:55 PM ET

Tampa Bay’s pursuit of a 3rd consecutive Stanley Cup continues after the Lightning topped the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in Recreation 7 of their first-round playoff sequence on Saturday night time.

Third-line heart Nick Paul, an in-season acquisition from the Ottawa Senators, scored twice for Tampa Bay within the win. Morgan Rielly had the lone marker for Toronto.

Tampa Bay now strikes on to face the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers within the second spherical, a rematch of a heated first-round sequence final yr.

Toronto had two possibilities to ship Tampa Bay packing after main the sequence 3-2 following Recreation 5. The Leafs failed on each counts, and the Recreation 7 defeat marked a fifth consecutive first-round playoff sequence loss for Toronto. They’re now 0-5 of their final 5 video games with a chance to shut a staff out.

Tampa Bay hasn’t misplaced a first-round sequence since 2019, once they gained the common season’s Presidents Trophy solely to be swept from the playoffs in 4 video games by Columbus. They responded to that by happening back-to-back Stanley Cup runs.

The sequence in opposition to Toronto was hard-fought all through, with wide-ranging momentum swings. The Leafs and Lightning traded lopsided wins by means of the primary 4 video games, to arrange a come-from-behind win for Toronto in Recreation 5. Tampa staved off elimination in Recreation 6 with a 4-Three additional time win, the one recreation within the sequence that required additional time.

The Maple Leafs jumped throughout Tampa Bay early however could not slip something previous the rock-solid Andrei Vasilevskiy. It was nonetheless 0-Zero late within the body when Lightning heart Brayden Point went sliding into the boards and had his proper leg buckle below. Level writhed in speedy ache and was unable to place weight on the leg as he was helped off the ice.

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Brayden Level left late within the first interval after he slid into the boards along with his proper leg buckled below. The Lightning’s second-line heart needed to be helped off the ice and wasn’t in a position to put any weight on the leg.

Tampa Bay responded to Level’s loss with the sport’s opening purpose from Paul, who batted in a rebound off Jack Campbell‘s pad and gave Tampa a 1-Zero lead after the primary interval.

Level surprisingly returned with Tampa for the second. He was solely in a position to take one shift although earlier than hunching over on the bench in apparent ache; Level would stay out for the remainder of the night time.

In the meantime, the Leafs started working fixing Vasilevskiy. Toronto thought it had the tying purpose when John Tavares slipped behind Tampa’s protection and scored, however that purpose was waved off on account of an interference name in opposition to Justin Holl previous to Tavares’ rating.

It wasn’t till Rielly discovered the again of the online that the Leafs had the sport knotted 1-1.

It would not take lengthy for Paul to gentle the lamp once more for Tampa Bay, with a nifty transfer by means of the Leafs’ protection and a shot previous Campbell.

Toronto was down 2-1 within the third when Paul went in on Campbell once more and bowled the goaltender over. Campbell went down however tried shaking off what gave the impression to be a leg damage. After a pair laps across the zone testing the leg out, Campbell stayed put. There was no name for goalie interference on the play. Campbell completed the sport with 23 saves.

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The Maple Leafs stored stress on Tampa till the top however could not discover an equalizer as Vasilevskiy shut the door in a 30-save efficiency.