Nick Paul lifts Lightning to Game 7 win over Maple Leafs


On a night where goals were at a premium, Paul picked the perfect time to notch the first playoff tallies of his career.

Paul pounced on a rebound scoring on a one-handed backhand shot in a tight first period to put the Lightning up 1-0 with 1:36 left. 

The Leafs finally got on the board t 13:25 in the second period. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner helped set up Morgan Rielly, who sniped a goal glove-side, tying the game 1-1. 

With 3:28 left in the second period, Paul gathered a loose puck just inside the Maple Leafs’ zone, deked around defensemen T.J. Brodie and rifled home his second goal to put Tampa Bay up for good.

With the Lightning up 2-1 after two periods, Vasilevskiy shut the door, turning away all 17 shots he faced in the third period. Vasilevskiy made 30 saves off 31 total shots and saved all seven shots faced against Toronto’s powerplay. 

The defending back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Lightning advance to the second round of the playoffs, where they’ll face the Florida Panthers. On Friday night, the Panthers defeated the Washington Capitals in overtime, 4-3, winning that first-round series in six games. 

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