game 6 leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning heading to Game 6

Toronto Maple Leafs fans were ready on Thursday to celebrate the playoff series victory that they’ve been waiting 19 years for, but they're going to have to wait at least two more days.

After back-to-back overtime losses on home ice pushed the Tampa Bay Lightning to the brink of elimination, the three-time defending Eastern Conference champions staved off elimination with a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 at Scotiabank Arena, cutting the Maple Leafs' lead in the best-of-seven series to 3-2.

Despite a late goal from Auston Matthews to cut the score to 3-2, the Leafs weren’t able to pull off a miracle in the third period for the third straight game.

Michael Eyssimont, inserted into the Tampa Bay lineup for the first time since Game 1, put the Lightning up 2-1 in the second period when he blew by Justin Holl and beat goaltender Ilya Samsonov along the ice from a tight angle.

Nick Paul scored the for the Lightning with just over eight minutes remaining.

Alex Killorn added a empty net goal in the closing seconds to finalize the score.

Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly blew the roof off the arena when he opened the scoring for the home team less than six minutes into the first period.

Leafs fans didn’t get to savour the early lead for long, though. Anthony Cirelli jammed home a loose puck around the Toronto net just 25 seconds after Rielly’s goal to even the score.

This was the Leafs' 11th consecutive loss in playoff games where they’ve had a chance to win a series.

The series now moves back to Tampa for Game 6 on Saturday. The start time has yet to be announced.

Lead photo by

Tampa Bay Lightning

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