Maple Leafs edge out Golden Knights
John Tavares was the match-winner for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night as they edged out the Vegas Golden Knights in overtime at Scotiabank Arena.
The goal came at 2:33 in overtime when Tavares accepted a pass from Mitchell Marner and hit a one-timer past Malcolm Subban from inside the right face-off circle.
The 2-1 win means that the Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock is now the eighth coach in the history of the NHL to reach the landmark of 700 wins in his career.
Auston Matthews also scored for the Maple Leafs, and Frederik Anderson came up with 37 saves for Toronto, who went into the game as favourites with sports betting companies and have now won three games in a row for the first time during the current season.
Speaking after the game, Babcock paid tribute to his players, but particularly to Andersen, who had a good game and is hitting form at the right time.
Babcock said that Andersen has been improving and that he is an important player for them and also a leader and that they need him to make big saves like he has been doing.
For Vegas, Max Pacioretty was on target with their only goal, while Subban produced 35 saves as the visitors extended their ongoing point streak to five games, though they are still fourth in the West.
It was also another disappointing overtime loss for Vegas, who have now lost all three of their overtime games this season, and they will be keen to correct that quickly.
After two periods of tense and scrappy play, Vegas took the lead through Pacioretty at 4:08 in the third period following an interception of a Cody Ceci attempted clearance.
However, the Maple Leafs got back into the game on 8:14 when Matthews levelled during his team’s sixth power play of the game, shooting over Subban’s glove from the right.
The Golden Knights pushed hard for the winner, but Andersen was in fine form, making a string of vital stops and setting up the overtime period, in which Tavares sealed the win for Toronto.
The Maple Leafs are now second in the East and will host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, while the Golden Knights will have a tough assignment as they travel to Washington to take on the Capitals.
Words: Stijn Janssen