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Mitchell Marner received a pass in the neutral zone after a Lightning turnover and tried to fire a shot behind goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Tampa Bay keeper stopped the shot but bounced straight on a rising Matthews who cleared it and sent one to the back of the net.
It was Matthews’ third goal of the series and gave Toronto a 4-3 win.
The win brought Toronto 3-2 in the series and on the verge of sending home the mighty Lightning at the start of the playoffs for the first time in two seasons.
Tampa Bay got off to a great start, scoring the first two goals of the game.
Steven Stamkos scores the first goal on an assist from Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. Victor Hedman would follow Stamkos later in the first period on assist from Kucherov and Alex Killorn.
But three Toronto direct goals brought the Maple Leafs to the start of the third.
John Tavares started scoring with a goal in the second period on an assist from Mark Giordano and William Nylander and then in the third Morgan Rielly and Nylander would score to lead Toronto 3-2.
Tampa Bay’s Ryan McDonagh nailed the tie in the third half before Matthews’ match winner.
Vasilevskiy finished with 21 saves. Toronto’s Jack Campbell made 32 saves.
Toronto has lost in the first round four of the last five years and lost in the qualifying round during the 2020 qualifying round during the coronavirus-affected season. Tampa Bay does not lose in the first round of the playoffs from the 2019 playoffs.
Game 6 is set for Thursday night in Tampa.