Sam Reinhart was a hero in overtime and the Florida Panthers pushed the Toronto Maple Leafs to the brink of elimination with a 3-2 victory on Sunday night.
After making the breakout, Reinhart picked up a throw-in from Anton Lundell along the boards and rounded the net to surprise Joseph Woll.
“We had a lot of guys who stepped up in the big moments,” Reinhart explained.
The Panthers posted their sixth straight win and took a 3-0 lead in this second-round series. The fourth duel will take place on Wednesday evening at Sunrise.
Only four teams in NHL history have managed to erase a 3-0 series deficit. The most recent time came in 2014, when the Los Angeles Kings got the better of the San Jose Sharks.
“There’s a lot going our way,” said Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, whose team won six consecutive playoff games for the first time in club history. It’s about taking things day by day…doing what it takes to succeed. »
Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe also scored for the Panthers, who erased two one-goal deficits in Game 3.
Sergei Bobrovsky saved 22 of the 24 pucks he faced. He was the Panthers’ starter on their most recent winning streak.
“You have to win a game,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. That was our mission tonight. You have to start with a match and give yourself a chance. They are in full control here; it’s up to us to make it uncomfortable for them and not let them slip away. We still believe enormously in our group. »
Sam Lafferty and Erik Gustafsson found the back of the net for the Maple Leafs, who also lost goaltender Ilya Samsonov.
Samsonov was injured in the second period when teammate Luke Schenn came into contact with him while trying to abort a play on an overplay.
Woll came in relief and gave up three times on 21 shots.
“Obviously it’s a matter of life and death now,” said Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs. So it starts with a single game. »