Thursday's NHL: Lightning-Maple Leafs head to Game 7; Oilers stay alive

Jimmy Golen
Associated Press

Tampa, Fla. — Brayden Point scored on a rebound with 1:56 remaining in the first overtime, giving the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night and forcing Game 7 in the first-round playoff series between the Atlantic Division rivals.

Ondrej Palat, Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov also scored for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, who blew a two-goal lead for the second straight game and trailed 3-2 entering the third period.

Lightning center Brayden Point (21) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal during sudden-death overtime in Game 6 to beat the Maple Leafs on Thursday in Tampa, Fla.

Andrei Vasilevskiy had 30 saves, nine overtime, to improve to 18-0 in games following a playoff loss over the past three postseasons. Jack Campbell stopped 32 of 36 shots for the Maple Leafs, who are chasing their first playoff series win in 18 years.

Game 7 is Saturday in Toronto.

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The Lightning are trying to become the first team to capture three consecutive Stanley Cup titles since the New York Islanders won four straight from 1980-84.

The Maple Leafs, who’ve been eliminated in the first round each of the past five seasons, are 0-for-their-last-8 in close-out games.

Kucherov’s 5-on-3 power-play goal made it 3-all midway through the third period. Palat got the Lightning off to another fast start and Cirelli’s short-handed goal had the Maple Leafs facing a two-goal deficit that Auston Matthews and John Tavares wiped out over the last half of the second period.

Matthews cut into the deficit with his fourth goal of the series, and Tavares scored twice in the last 34 seconds of the second period to put the Maple Leafs ahead 3-2.

The Maple Leafs rallied to win Game 5 at home, overcoming an early two-goal deficit and scoring three times in the third period to win 4-3 and take a 3-2 series lead.

The Lightning, meanwhile, faced elimination in a series for just the second time over the past three postseasons. The New York Islanders extended them to Game 7 in last year’s Stanley Cup semifinals, with Tampa Bay’s winning 1-0 before going on to defeat the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final.

More games

(At) St. Louis 5, Minnesota 1: Jordan Binnington made 25 saves and the St. Louis Blues beat the Minnesota Wild 5-1 on Thursday night in Game 6 of their series to advance to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in a dominant second period during which the Blues outshot the Wild 22-5 and took control of the game.

Former Red Wing Nick Leddy also scored, Colton Parayko added an empty-netter and David Perron had two assists as St. Louis won its first series since defeating the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. The Blues will face Colorado in the second round.

Matt Dumba scored in the third period for the Wild, who hit three posts in the game, including two in the third. Cam Talbot, who finished the regular season on a 13-0-3 run, made 22 saves after getting the start in place of Marc-Andre Fleury.

Bruins' Curtis Lazar (20) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes with Tomas Nosek (92), Hampus Lindholm (27), Nick Foligno (17) and Charlie McAvoy (73) during the third period in Game 6 on Thursday in Boston.

(At) Boston 5, Carolina 2: Brad Marchand scored one goal and assisted on another, and Jeremy Swayman stopped 23 shots to lead Boston past Carolina and send their first-round playoff series to a decisive seventh game.

The home team has won all six games in the series so far – an edge for Carolina, which will host Game 7 on Saturday.

Charlie Coyle also scored for Boston, and Erik Haula and Derek Forbort added third-period goals before Curtis Lazar backhanded the puck into the empty net with 4:17 to play.

Andrei Svechnikov scored twice and Antti Raanta made 29 saves for the Hurricanes, who have won three games by a combined score of 15-4 and lost three by a total of 14-6.

Edmonton 4, (at) Los Angeles 2: Evander Kane had two goals and an assist, Connor McDavid added a goal and two assists, Tyson Barrie scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and Edmonton avoided elimination.

Kane has seven goals in the series, including three multi-goal games. The road team has won four times in the series.

Cody Ceci added a pair of assists and Mike Smith stopped 30 shots for the Oilers, who host the deciding Game 7 on Saturday night in Edmonton.

Sean Durzi and Carl Grundstrom scored for Los Angeles, which was looking to wrap up its first series since defeating the New York Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. Jonathan Quick made 33 saves.