Tavares scores over­time win­ner against Ducks

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS -

TORONTO — For the sec­ond time this week, the Toronto Maple Leafs gave up a two-goal lead at home in the third pe­riod. This time, they re­cov­ered to get a win.

John Tavares scored his sec­ond goal of the game at 4:53 of over­time, lift­ing the Maple Leafs to a 5-4 win over the Ana­heim Ducks on Fri­day night.

Aus­ton Matthews got his 40th goal of the sea­son to tie Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead and had three as­sists, while Ja­son Spezza and An­dreas Johns­son also scored for Toronto. Mitch Marner also had three as­sists and Tavares had one.

The Maple Leafs squan­dered leads of 3-1 and 4-3 in the third pe­riod.

“It seems like we’re just lack­ing some con­fi­dence in those sit­u­a­tions,” Leafs head coach Shel­don Keefe said af­ter his team was out­shot 15-4 in the third by a club play­ing the sec­ond of a back-to­back. “Al­most like we’re wait­ing or ex­pect­ing some­thing bad to hap­pen.

“It’s not what we want to be about.”

On Mon­day night, Toronto took a 3-1 in the third against Florida be­fore fall­ing 5-3.

Jack Camp­bell made 26 saves in his first start for the Maple Leafs, two nights af­ter be­ing ac­quired from Los Angeles.

“What a re­silient group,” said Camp­bell, who ad­mit­ted to some early jit­ters. “That’s a tough game when you give up the lead like that. But as a team you’ve got to ap­pre­ci­ate the re­silience.”

Tavares scored his 22nd goal of the sea­son at the lip of the crease with 6.2 sec­onds left on the clock in the ex­tra pe­riod af­ter Rickard Rakell was sent off for trip­ping.

“We just had to stay with it,” Tavares said. “Not a very good third pe­riod. Not ideal and some­thing we have to clean up.”

Adam Hen­rique had a goal and an as­sist, and Ni­co­las Des­lau­ri­ers, Max Jones and Derek Grant also scored for Ana­heim. Cam Fowler had two as­sists and Ryan Miller fin­ished with 30 saves for the Ducks, who were play­ing for the third time in four nights.

Ana­heim was forced to go with five de­fense­man for the third pe­riod and over­time af­ter Erik Gud­bran­son left with an up­per-body in­jury.

“We bat­tled,” Ana­heim coach Dal­las Eakins said. “We fought hard and showed some great char­ac­ter.” The Maple Leafs led 3-1 af­ter 40 min­utes, but Jones scored short-handed and Hen­rique on a power play a lit­tle more than four min­utes apart in the third to tie it.

Spezza got Toronto back in front 4-3 when he raced down the right side, faked a shot on Miller, and scored his ninth up­stairs from a tight an­gle with 3:27 left in reg­u­la­tion.

But Grant scored his 13th with 57 sec­onds left on the clock off a scram­ble in Camp­bell’s crease to knot it up again and force OT.

The win moved Toronto back into a play­off spot in third in the At­lantic Di­vi­sion, a point ahead of Florida, which has a game in hand.

“You just take the good and bad,” Matthews said of a win tainted by an­other squan­dered lead. “We don’t want to get in that po­si­tion, and it’s been a po­si­tion that we’ve been fall­ing into quite a bit.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

WIN­NER — Toronto Maple Leafs cen­ter John Tavares (91) knocks the puck past Ana­heim Ducks goal­tender John Gib­son (36) to score in over­time dur­ing an NHL hockey game on Fri­day in Toronto.

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