Nick Paul lifts Lightning to game 7 for a win over the Maple Leafs

On a night when goals came first, Paul picked the perfect time to win the first playoff game of his career.

Paul scored a one-handed backhand in the tight first period to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead with 1:36 remaining.

Finally, The Leafs hit the board at 13:25 in the second period. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner helped Morgan Rielly, who hit goal, to make it 1-1.

With 3:28 left in the second half, Paul assembled a loose attack right in the Maple Leafs area, circled the TJ Brodie defence, and scored his second goal to put Tampa Bay ahead.

With Lightning leading 2-1 after two innings, Vasilevskiy closed the door, neutralizing all 17 shots he faced in the third inning. Vasilevskiy made 30 saves from 31 shots and saved all seven in the face of Toronto’s mighty play.

The back-to-back Stanley Cup champions will advance to the second round of the knockout stages, where they’ll face the Florida Panthers. On Friday night, the Panthers beat the Washington Capitals in overtime, 4-3win the first series in six games.

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