TORONTO — Auston Matthews scored the tiebreaking goal with 6:06 left in the third period and the Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from an early two-goal deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Tuesday night and take a 3-2 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Toronto scored three of their four goals in the third period.
William Nylander added a goal and two assists for Toronto, which is a victory away from advancing in the postseason for the first time since 2004. John Tavares had a goal and assist, and Morgan Rielly also scored. Jack Campbell stopped 32 shots.
Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh scored, Nikita Kucherov had two assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning, who will try to avoid elimination in the best-of-seven series in Game 6 at home on Thursday night.
Game 7, if necessary, would be in Toronto on Saturday.
Matthews snapped a 3-3 tie on a 2-on-1 rush in the third period. Mitch Marner fired a shot off Vasilevskiy’s right pad and Matthews, who had 60 goals during the regular season, scored his third of the playoffs to ignite the raucous home crowd.
The Bolts face an elimination game in Tampa Thursday.