Tavares Scores OT Winner as Maple Leafs Beat Golden Knights

TORONTO — John Tavares scored at 2:33 of overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Auston Matthews also scored for Toronto (9-5-3). Frederik Andersen was outstanding in making 37 stops as the Leafs won a third straight game for the first time this season.

Max Pacioretty replied for Vegas (9-5-3), which got 35 saves from Malcolm Subban in his first NHL start in his hometown.

Playing his second game back after missing seven with a broken finger, Tavares took a pass from Mitch Marner on a 2-on-1 and scored his fourth goal of the season upstairs on Subban.

Pacioretty, who entered with 19 goals in 40 career games against the Leafs from his 10 seasons with Montreal, broke a 0-0 tie at 4:08 of the third period on a gift from Toronto defenceman Cody Ceci.

Nick Holden’s point shot rattled around the slot and fell to Ceci, who tried to clear the puck, but instead swept it right to Pacioretty and he made no mistake for his fourth goal of the season.

Toronto’s power play was 0 for 5 on the night and on an ugly 2-for-32 stretch, but got its sixth opportunity of the night a few minutes later and finally made it count when Matthews wheeled off the boards and fired his 13th over Subban’s shoulder and off the crossbar and in shortside at 8:14 as Scotiabank Arena breathed a sigh of relief.

Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Vegas got its fourth power play midway through the period, but Toronto killed it off before Trevor Moore was stopped by Subban, who got the nod ahead of No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, on a breakaway after his penalty expired.

The Leafs were whistled for too many men on the ice with 1:21 left in regulation, but Toronto held at 5-on-4 thanks to two late saves from Andersen on Jonathan Marchessault, and then for another 39 seconds at 4-on-3 in OT — including a great stop on William Karlsson.

Pacioretty hit both posts on a Vegas power play early in the second before Andersen robbed Shea Theodore with a great glove save on the same man advantage.

William Carrier then stepped around Ceci later in the period only to be denied by the Toronto netminder.

Toronto, which went nearly 15 minutes between shots on goal from the end of the first and into the second, got its third and fourth power plays of the night, but couldn’t get anything past Subban and the NHL’s No. 2 penalty kill.

Vegas came close to grabbing an early lead on the game’s first shift when Reilly Smith’s shot of the rush rattled the crossbar over Andersen’s right shoulder.

Reilly Smith #19, Vegas Golden Knights
Reilly Smith #19, Vegas Golden Knights, October 13, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Toronto’s power play got two chances in the opening period, but Subban and the Knights’ penalty kill held firm despite some sustained pressure.

Leafs came in having given up at least one man-advantage goal against in 11 of 16 games this season, and in eight of their last nine, but managed to stave off a late Vegas opportunity.


Marchessault played the 300th regular-season game of his NHL career. … Toronto hosts Philadelphia on Saturday before visiting Chicago on Sunday. … Vegas is at Washington on Saturday and Detroit on Sunday. … Attendance was 19,218.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2019.


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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press