Panthers edge Maple Leafs in OT in Game 3 of East 2nd Round, extend lead
Sam Reinhart scored at 3:02 of overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at FLA Live Arena on Sunday.
After taking a pass near Toronto’s blue line, Reinhart skated back with the puck before turning and going through two defenders to enter the offensive zone. He then passed the puck around the boards to Anton Lundell, who passed it back to Reinhart for a wraparound at the left post.
Florida will now have the chance in Game 4 on Wednesday to advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1996.
“Really happy for him,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said of Reinhart. “He’s a high-end player that accepts what you might call a third-line role happily. Developed two young players with him, no ego, never once talked about ice time this year. You like those guys to get a payoff.”
Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe also scored for the Panthers, who have won six in a row and are the second wild card from the East. Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves.
Sam Lafferty and Erik Gustafsson scored for the Maple Leafs, who are the No. 2 seed from the Atlantic Division.
“It [stinks], obviously, but we’ve got to forget about it quickly,” Toronto forward Mitchell Marner said. “… We have to know that it’s do-or-die. Just take it a game at a time and make sure we know that and be ready for it.”
Ilya Samsonov left the game 37 seconds into the second period after sustaining an undisclosed injury when Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn slid into him while trying to break up a 2-on-1. At the time of the injury, Samsonov had made eight saves, and the Maple Leafs were leading 1-0.
Joseph Woll made 18 saves in relief.
Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe had no update on Samsonov after the game.
“The first thing I’m thinking about is hoping Samsonov is not hurt too bad,” Woll said. “Hope for the best for him. After that it was focusing and try to get to the place I need to be mentally, and I think I did a good job of that in settling in.”
After Auston Matthews hit the crossbar 20 seconds into the game on a 2-on-1, Lafferty gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead at 2:26 when he one-timed David Kampf’s centering pass on another 2-on-1.
Duclair tied it 1-1 at 2:36 of the second period, taking a stretch pass from Aaron Ekblad and deking Woll on a breakaway for a power-play goal.
“I think you look at their game plan, they came out really fast and tried to spread this out a little bit,” Reinhart said. “And once you kind of realize that, we both know how we’re going to play at the end of the day.
“But I think we tightened up a little bit, started getting above the puck a little bit more and just trying to make it as hard as possible on their guys, because they’ve got a lot of skill over there.”
Gustafsson put Toronto ahead 2-1 at 7:32 after his centering pass deflected in off the stick of Panthers defenseman Marc Staal.
Verhaeghe tied it 2-2 at 12:28 of the second when Radko Gudas’ shot from the point redirected in off the back of his pants.
Toronto, which did not receive a power play, outshot Florida 11-7 in the third period before Reinhart scored on the first shot of overtime.
“Florida played hard today,” Keefe said. “They defended the middle of the ice well. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for our guys there. In the first five minutes, we had three or four odd-man rushes out of that, and I liked the way we started the game that way. Obviously, it got Florida’s attention on it, and they plugged it up pretty good after that.”
RD 2 | Game 3 Lineup pic.twitter.com/xUqyJcz0uj
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 7, 2023
Game four Wednesday@LGCanada | #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/lEztAvgXVE
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 8, 2023