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Three Takeaways in Maple Leafs’ 4-3 OT Win over Lightning

Last night the Toronto Maple Leafs took a 2-1 series lead with an overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. What were the key takeaways?

On Saturday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs came back from a goal deficit close to the end of the third period. They then went on to win in overtime by a score of 4-3 over the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the win, the Maple Leafs wrestled back the home-ice advantage for the first round of these NHL playoffs.

The truth is that the Maple Leafs were outplayed for most of the game. However, they mustered enough of a comeback to tie at the end of regulation. However, they were then outplayed again in the overtime period. That said, just before the end of the first overtime session Ryan O’Reilly won a draw in the Lightning’s end and Morgan Rielly snapped a shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy for the game-winning goal.

In a scoring summary for the game, Auston Matthews and Noel Acciari scored early for Toronto. Anthony Cirelli and Brandon Hagel also scored during the opening period for Tampa Bay. The end of the first period was 2-2.

In the second period, Darren Raddysh scored his first career playoff goal to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead. Finally, almost two periods later, Ryan O’Reilly tied the game with a minute left in the third period. He then set up the game-winning goal in overtime by winning a draw cleanly back to Morgan Rielly who fired the puck into the net from far out.

Mitchell Marner had two assists for Toronto, while O’Reilly had two assists in addition to his goal.

Related: Maple Leafs Quick Hits Headed into Game 3: Marner & Rule Book

Takeaway One: Ryan O’Reilly’s Contributions to the Team

The Maple Leafs look like they did well by bringing in Ryan O’Reilly at the trade deadline. He’s added skill and a determined effort that helped his team win its second game in a row. O’Reilly played a significant role in the victory.

O’Reilly scored a goal and blocked a shot with seconds left. He also won a draw in the team’s offensive zone that led to Morgan Rielly’s game-winner. O’Reilly just seems to have the ability to stay composed and (as Rielly noted in an interview after the game) seems to enjoy the pressure moments of the game.

In a sport where emotional swings are part of any game, he stays composed and helps his team also not get carried away.

Ryan O'Reilly Maple Leafs injury
Ryan O’Reilly has been a leader this postseason for his team.

O’Reilly is clearly already a leader on this team, both on and off the ice. His contributions on the ice are present for anyone watching to note. However, his leadership abilities that none of us fans can see also have been pointed out over and over again. He contributes regularly in the locker room during intermissions.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits: Jekyll & Hyde, Samsonov & Marner

Takeaway Two: Ilya Samsonov Has Another Great Game

While it might not have started that way, by the end of the game it was clear that only misfortune was going to beat Ilya Samsonov. He just wasn’t going to make a mistake. His resume of poor playoff performances is behind him. 

The Lightning are putting tons of pressure on him and he isn’t folding. Perhaps I’m speaking too quickly, but he’s already outdueling Andrei Vasilevskiy. He was the main reason his team won. I saw the three stars of the game from one venue. Samsonov was not among them. Can’t believe it.

Takeaway Three: Matthew Knies Is the Real Deal

Matthew Knies is playing far better than I imagined he could. In last night’s game, he picked up an assist in 19:15 of ice time in his team’s 4-3 overtime win over the Lightning. His speed and strength were apparent on almost every shift; and, as a result of his success, he spent most of the game on the top lines.

Matthew Knies Maple Leafs 1
Matthew Knies Maple Leafs 1

One thing that seems clear is that he isn’t overwhelmed or intimidated in making the jump from the NCAA to the NHL playoffs. In fact, after the telecast, Kevin Bieksa clearly stated (in his half-kidding, but also tell-the-truth way) that Knies was the best Maple Leafs’ player on the ice Saturday.

How good is Knies? If he gets a chance to play on the team’s top-six units, he’s already penciled in as a Calder Trophy candidate next season. He’s that good.

Related: Battle of Maple Leafs Pests: Michael Bunting vs. Nazem Kadri



  1. gfinale

    April 23, 2023 at 4:31 am

    The Leafa were significantly outplayed, that overtime goal was lu ky to go in and Samsonov handled too many good scoring opportunitites. The Leafs got very lucky and will not do well if they don’t play better than that.

  2. gfinale

    April 23, 2023 at 4:35 am

    Nylander was good in every way including his battle effort. He must have worked lots on his strength last off season. Let’s just hope he can consistently bring it foe the future instead of slacking off for periods wveey year!

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  4. Pingback: Key Points in Heated Series Between Maple Leafs and Lightning

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