Toronto Maple Leafs end 19-year playoff drought with wild OT win
Toronto is partying like it's 2004 tonight.
The Toronto Maple Leafs snapped the NHL’s longest active playoff series win drought with a 2-1 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Saturday, winning the best-of-seven-series 4-2 with an overtime goal from John Tavares.
GAME WINNER!— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 30, 2023
LET’S. GO. LEAFS. NATION!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/dkttq8eBpW
Auston Matthews’ fifth goal of the series broke the scoreless tie with just over six minutes remaining in the second period.
POW PAPI! 💥 pic.twitter.com/LRQhKB9k9J— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 30, 2023
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos pounced on a rebound to even the score just over four minutes into the third period, setting the stage for overtime.
Tampa Bay outshot Toronto 32-22 on the night, but goaltender Ilya Samsonov turned in a strong 31-save performance for the Leafs.
The Maple Leafs slayed a few dragons tonight. In the 19 years in between series victories, they had last seven consecutive series, as well as 11 consecutive playoff games where they’d had a chance to close out a series. All of those streaks finally came to an end on Saturday.
THEY DID IT !!! Leafs win pic.twitter.com/raASPk5oz8— Lindsay Dunn (@LindsayDunnTV) April 30, 2023
The Leafs’ second-round opponent — yes, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ second-round opponent — will be the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.
Absolute madness in downtown Toronto #leafs. pic.twitter.com/TTYAKJ1sT0— Lindsay Dunn (@LindsayDunnTV) April 30, 2023
They will have home-ice advantage if they play for the Panthers. If it’s the Bruins, they’ll have a chance to slay another dragon, as Boston was handed Toronto three of those Game 7 losses during the drought.
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