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Maple Leafs Scrape by Panthers 2-1 in Overtime



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John Tavares scored with 21.3 seconds remaining in overtime and the Toronto Maple Leafs would stun the Florida Panthers, 2-1, on Monday night to snap Florida’s six-game winning streak.

After a scoreless opening 37-plus minutes, Toronto would gain a 1-0 lead when Auston Matthews deflected a long shot by Mitch Marner with 2:13 remaining in the second period.

Brandon Montour scored for the Panthers and tied the franchise record for goals by a defenseman in a season with his 16th of the year.

Florida’s goalie, Alex Lyon, would record 23 saves and lost for the first time in seven straight starts since he replaced Sergei Bobrovsky in late March.

Lyon was named the NHL Third Star of the Week after going 3-0-0 and allowing only five goals on 122 shots faced for the Panthers. He is the first Panthers goalie to be honored by the league this season.

However, the Panthers did manage to gain a point and inched closer to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference of the upcoming NHL playoffs. Florida has gone 6-0-1 since losing in Ottawa, Canada on March 27th.

“That game could have gone either way, they played well, both goalies played well and we ended up getting a point out of it. It obviously would have been better to get the extra point, but we are alright,” Brandon Montour said.

The Panthers tied the score about half way through the third period when Montour scored on an assist from Carter Verhaeghe.

“That was a massive point for us, the guys played so well in front of me, they made my job simple. It is tough going into the third down 1-0 and it is easy to be discouraged … but we kept the pedal to the metal and that is the sign of a really good team,” Alex Lyon said.

With a win in their regular-season finale Thursday against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes, the Panthers can clinch a playoff spot.

“Five games ago, we hoped we would make that last game and have a chance. We have earned a two-day block of rest before the biggest game of the year. Now we can say it is the biggest game of the year,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said.