Auston Matthews puts the Maple Leafs series ahead of Stanley Cup champions Lightning on the ropes

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the Toronto maple leaves have the Stanley Cup in defense sample Tampa Bay Lightning on the ropes thanks to Auston Matthews’ go-ahead goal in the third period on Tuesday night.

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.

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Toronto Maple Leafs striker Auston Matthews (34) celebrates with teammate Jack Campbell (36) after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of Game 5 of a Stanley Cup hockey first-round playoff series NHL, Tuesday May 10, 2022 in Toronto.

Toronto Maple Leafs striker Auston Matthews (34) celebrates with teammate Jack Campbell (36) after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of Game 5 of a Stanley Cup hockey first-round playoff series NHL, Tuesday May 10, 2022 in Toronto.
(Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press via AP)

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.

SETH JARVIS, ANTTI RAANTA HELP THE HURRICANS TO TOP BRUINS FOR THE 3-2 LEAD SERIES

Toronto Maple Leafs striker Auston Matthews (34) scores the winning goal against the then Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of Game 5 of a series of NHL Stanley Cup hockey first round playoffs on Tuesday May 10, 2022 in Toronto.

Toronto Maple Leafs striker Auston Matthews (34) scores the winning goal against the then Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of Game 5 of a series of NHL Stanley Cup hockey first round playoffs on Tuesday May 10, 2022 in Toronto.
(Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press via AP)

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.

A shot by Tampa Bay Lightning defender Ryan McDonagh (27) beats Toronto Maple Leafs goalkeeper Jack Campbell (36) as Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov (86) and Leafs defender Jake Muzzin (8) watch during the third period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup NHL hockey first round playoff series, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Toronto.
(Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press via AP)

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Game 6 is set for Thursday night in Tampa.