Lightning send series back to Tampa, beat Maple Leafs 4-2
TORONTO - Michael Eyssimont had a goal and an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Thursday night to force Game 6 in their first-round playoff series.
Anthony Cirelli also had a goal and an assist, Nicholas Paul and Alex Killorn, into an empty net, also scored for Tampa. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves.
Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews scored for Toronto, which got 34 stops from Ilya Samsonov. John Tavares had two assists.
The Leafs still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.
Game 6 goes Saturday in Tampa. Game 7, if necessary, would be Monday back at Scotiabank Arena.
Toronto, which has failed to advance in the post-season since 2004 and was eliminated by the Lightning in seven games in last spring’s first round, is now 0-10 since 2018 with a chance to eliminate a post-season opponent.
The Lightning forward suited up for the first time since getting knocked out of Game 1 on a hard hit by Leafs defenseman Jake McCabe. Eyssimont’s inclusion meant Tanner Jeannot watched from the press box.
The gritty Toronto native was eligible to return to the lineup after serving his three-game ban, but Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe elected to go with the same lineup for the fourth straight game. Michael Bunting registered 23 goals and 49 points in the regular season.