The Maple Leafs came back in the third period, to edge out the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on the road Tuesday night. Austin Matthews hit the game-winner on a power play with 2:53 remaining in the game to pull off the improbable win.
The Leafs improved their NHL regular season record to 39-17-8 with 86 points, just two points behind the Devils now for third place in the Eastern Conference. This is the team’s seventh win in their last ten games, as Toronto looks set to make the postseason in one of the higher seeds.
The first period of the game went scoreless as both teams got their bearings. It wasn’t until 7:30 into the second period that Calle Jarnkrok gave Toronto its first lead, tapping in a cross-ice pass by William Nylander.
The lead didn’t last long as Erik Haula evened up the game with 3:03 left in the second, ripping one in through Samsonov after Mitch Marner was unable to clear a loose puck in front of the crease.
Marner was able to redeem himself in the third period with a short-handed goal, stealing the puck from Timo Meier to sneak one past Vanecek in close with some nifty moves. Once again, the celebration didn’t last as Ondrej Palat tied it back up a little more than a minute later on a rebound.
A few minutes later, Haula deflected in his second of the day to put New Jersey ahead 3-2. Toronto responded with an open net rebound from Bunting that tied it up with only 4:50 left in regulation.
With the game set up for a thrilling finish, Matthews came through in a late power play, scoring his 29th on the season. Matthews had not scored in his past three games.
The Leafs will be happy with their comeback against the Devils who they have held over for the past couple seasons with a 9-0-2 in their last 11 games. The playoff race is tightening up as the NHL regular season comes to its conclusion and Toronto will be trying to jockey for the highest seed possible to secure home ice advantage.
Who’s Next for the Leafs
Toronto will have a long rest until their next game where they will be hosting the Edmonton Oilers at the Scotiabank Arena. The Oilers are 32-22-8 on the season so far and have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs.
To place bets on the Leafs for the remainder of the season and upcoming playoffs, see our list of the the best NHL betting sites.
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