TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — John Tavares scored with 55 seconds left in overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday night.
Tavares scored from in-close off a pass from William Nylander.
Matthew Knies had two goals in a span of 2:22 in the third period as Toronto tied it at 3. The second, at 14:33, came while he was down on one knee.
Nikita Kucherov had two goals and an assist for Tampa Bay. His point-blank shot with 15 seconds left in regulation was turned aside by Joseph Woll, who had 30 saves after coming in for starter Ilya Samsonov, who was pulled at 13:29 of the first period after allowing three goals on four shots.
Alex Barré-Boulet scored the other Lightning goal, and Jonas Johansson made 50 saves. Steven Stamkos had an assist to tie Pat Verbeek for 74th place on the career points list with 1,062.
William Nylander also scored for the Maple Leafs.
Kucherov had a pair of power-play goals and assisted on Barré-Boulet’s even-strength goal as Tampa Bay took a 3-1 lead in the first period.
It was Kucherov’s 15th career three-point period, which is one short of Martin St. Louis’ team record. The right wing scored twice in a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
Nylander opened the scoring 4:16 into the game with Tavares picking up an assist. Nylander and Tavares are just the second pair of Toronto teammates in the past 30 years to have season-opening point streaks of at least five games.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper hasn’t seen any difference Stamkos despite his contract uncertainty.
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Stamkos, in the final season of a $68 million, eight-year contract, expressed disappointment at the start of training camp about the lack of contract talks.
“Honestly, had that not come up, I probably wouldn’t even known it existed, and that’s how it is in the (locker) room,” Cooper said. “Everybody in our locker room is team-oriented focused. Steven is the leader of that group. It hasn’t affected him. His play has been great.”
Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said discussions won’t begin until after the season ends. Tampa Bay is facing serious salary cap issues.
Maple Leafs: Play Tuesday night at Washington.
Lightning: Host Carolina on Tuesday night.
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