The Toronto Maple Leafs lost Game 3 of their second round series against the Florida Panthers 3-2 in overtime to fall behind 0-3 on Sunday night. Sam Reinhart scored the overtime winner for the Panthers, with Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe scoring the regulation goals for the team. Sam Lafferty and Erik Gustafsson scored for the Leafs in the loss.
Ilya Samsonov only played one period and a bit before being forced to leave with a reported concussion after getting run into by Luke Schenn. Joseph Woll made some good saves in relief, but he allowed three goals on 21 shots in the loss.
Auston Matthews led the Leafs offensively with a measely 0.4 expected goals on four shots. He and Mitch Marner were 34% on shots and 32% on expected goals in an invisible night for the two. Marner was a team low in both categories.
The series isn't over. But it basically is. We'll see if they can salvage one game on Wednesday. Yes, another two-day wait.
LIVE LAFF LOVE! Sam Lafferty opened the scoring barely a few minutes into the game as he finished off a 2-on-1 rush with David Kämpf, redeeming the fourth line which has been getting buried in recent games. As the Leafs ran 11/7 in this game, Alex Kerfoot was on the left wing for the duo on this shift.
With the stretch pass assist, Rielly extended his point streak to eight games, marking a new franchise record for playoff point streaks by a Leafs defender.
McCabe got stopped with the glove on a 2-on-1 as he and Järnkrok got away for a rush.
The shot share looked pretty bad for the Leafs in the first period (16-22) but it was only really one long shift in the middle of the period where the Leafs gave up a lot of shots, the rest of the period was very low event.
And that low event play turned out to be a feature, not a bug, by the Leafs coaching staff. The Leafs chose to send only two skaters up the ice and play a very safe game defensively. What this did was allow the Leafs to take advantage of the common mistakes by the Panthers defense while having more bodies back to protect against odd-man rushes and the core of the Panthers offense.
The result of the period was a 1-0 lead for the Leafs, two grade-A chances, and a frustrating period for the Panthers.
Samsonov driven into by Schenn as he tried to stop Verhaeghe from getting the rebound. Samsonov definitely looked like he had whiplash. Schenn also got a penalty for the trip on Verhaeghe.
Joseph Woll came in for Samsonov less than a minute into the second. To share some silver lining, it doesn't look like Samsonov has any problems skating or moving his arms. The massive downside is that is likely a concussion for Samsonov.
Duclair tied the game after splitting the defense and putting Woll in the splits to tie the game. McCabe missed him on his right periphery.
Erik Gustafsson scored off the Panthers stick to give the Leafs the lead again! Nylander and McCabe got the assists on the goal, with Kämpf the intended target all alone in front of the net. If Staal didn't put the puck in, he would've.
A few minutes later, Verhaeghe tied the game again with a tip in front of the net to get past Woll. The shot from the point came from Gudas. Hard to do anything with a deflection off the hand.
The Leafs did what they did in the first period, to less good results, as the power play allowed the Panthers to get a rush chance towards the net with Duclair. The tip shot is also going to happen when your team only owns 40% of the shots. Eventually one for the other team goes in.
The Leafs also announced that Samsonov wouldn't return to the game, leaving the net to rookie Joseph Woll.
The Leafs made up the shot differential over the course of the first half of the period. They had 14 more shots than the Panthers in the first 10 minutes of the third.
O'Reilly made a dumb pass back to his defender after getting the puck out of his zone, resulting in Woll having to make a big save to keep the game tied. Woll instantly became a steadying presence for the Leafs as he was able to see the puck and make the right play at the right time. There was one play where Holl lost the pass behind the net and it led to a bit of a scramble in front of the net, but Woll had the bottom of the net covered.
The Panthers pushed back in the final few minutes of the period, but again, Woll was solid.
The Leafs brought the shot deficit back to even in a strong third period, but the performance was made tentative with the shadow of overtime looming. A loss, and they go down 0-3. A win, and they're back in the series. The pressure was building in the third intermission.
Sam Reinhart wins it.