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Vasilevskiy backstops Lightning to 4-1 victory over Leafs; Matthews scores No. 63

Wed, Apr 3, 2024
NHL News (AP)

Vasilevskiy backstops Lightning to 4-1 victory over Leafs; Matthews scores No. 63

TORONTO (AP) - Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning topped Toronto 4-1 on Wednesday despite Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews adding to his NHL lead with the sniper's 63rd goal of the season.

Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Brayden Point and Nicholas Paul scored for Tampa.

Nikita Kucherov, who entered the night tied with Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon for the league lead with 127 points, added three assists.

Brandon Hagel also set up two goals for the Lightning, who moved within four points of the Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division.

The teams each have seven games remaining on the schedule - including April 17 in Tampa in the regular-season finale for both clubs.

Joseph Woll stopped 21 shots for Toronto, which saw a three-game winning streak snapped on a night it could have secured a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs for an eighth straight campaign with a single point.

The Leafs remain four points back of the Florida Panthers for second in the division with a game in hand.

Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly returned to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury.

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Sitting comfortably in the Eastern Conference's top wild-card spot, the Lightning took a 1-0 lead on a delayed penalty at 10:03 of the opening period when Hedman scored his 13th goal of the season through a screen - the third time in four starts Woll has allowed the first shot he's faced to hit the back of Toronto's net.

Matthews responded with 1 minute left before the intermission when he blasted his 63rd on a one-timer off a Rielly setup just three seconds into a power play.

The 26-year-old is on pace for 69 goals, but is eyeing 70 - a number not reached in the NHL since Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny both bagged 76 in 1992-93.

Looking to spark his team, Leafs enforcer Ryan Reaves dropped the gloves with Tampa Bay forward Tanner Jeannot three minutes into the third in a spirited bout.

UP NEXT

Lightning: At Montreal on Thursday night.

Maple Leafs: At Montreal on Saturday night

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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