Paul and Vasilevskiy help Lightning defeat Leafs in Game 7
At no time in the first six games of the first round did the Lightning hold a series lead. But when it mattered most, in a win-win Game 7 on Saturday, Tampa Bay delivered.
A pair of goals from Nick Paul and 30 saves from Andrei Vasilevsky led the Bolts to a decisive 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.
The score of the box | Strong points
Paul scored in the first to put the Lightning ahead and scored the winner at 16:32 of the second period.
Vasilevskiy played brilliantly all night, but was at his best in the third period. Vasilevskiy stopped all 17 shots the Leafs threw in the third to back up the win.
Next up for the Bolts is a second-round game against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers. Tampa Bay will begin this series on the road for Games 1 and 2.
TBL 1, TOR 0
18:24 Nick Paul (1) – Ross Colton
Immediately after Mark Giordano’s 2-on-1 shot was deflected wide, the Bolts quickly went in the opposite direction on a strange man run. Ross Colton’s initial one-timer was partially blocked but still reached Jack Campbell, forcing him into an awkward pad save. Nick Paul continued to drive towards the net, beating Morgan Rielly on the rebound and driving him home for the game’s opening count.
TBL 1, TOR 1
13:25 Morgan Rielly (3) – Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner
Morgan Rielly jumped on the rush to score the tying goal at 13:25 of the second period. The Leafs sent the puck to Rielly on the right wing in the middle of the ice, and he fired a shot upstairs on Andrei Vasilevsky to level the game to one.
TBL 2, TOR 1
16:32 Nick Paul (2) – Unassisted
Going down the back wall, Alex Killorn collided with Jake Muzzin, knocking him out of the game and opening space for Paul to pounce on the puck inside the blue line. Paul fought his way to the slot and beat Campbell to put the Bolts back in front late in the second.