June 12th, 2024

Smith scores in OT, Knights down Leafs for eight straight win

By Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press on November 8, 2022.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) tries a wraparound as Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Nicolas Hague (14) and defenceman Zach Whitecloud (2) defend during second period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO – Reilly Smith scored his second goal of the game 23 seconds into overtime as the Vegas Golden Knights extended their win streak to eight games with a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

Jack Eichel and Nicolas Roy had the other goals for Vegas (12-2-0). Logan Thompson stopped 28 shots. William Karlsson added two assists.

Timothy Liljegren scored his first two goals of the season in regulation for Toronto (7-4-3). Mitch Marner added a goal and an assist. Erik Kallgren made 16 saves.

Smith took a breakaway pass from Shea Theodore and roofed a backhand on Kallgren for his seventh of the season to snap Toronto’s three-game winning run.

The Leafs, who lost 3-1 to the Knights in Sin City on Oct. 24 to start an ugly four-game slide, were coming off back-to-back victories against Boston – which had also won seven straight before facing Toronto – and Carolina during an impressive 22-hour span over the weekend.

Down 2-1 after 20 minutes Tuesday, Kallgren kept his team within one in the second period with breakaway stops on Keegan Kolesar, William Carrier and Smith to set the stage for Marner to tie things 2-2 with his third goal of the campaign on a great individual effort at 13:50.

The winger also extended his point streak to seven games.

Marner then played the role of creator to give Toronto its first lead with a slick no-look pass to Liljegren for the blueliner to bury his second of the night at 16:56.

Marner stayed in the middle of the fray five minutes into the third – and not in a good way – when he flipped the puck out of play for a delay-of-game penalty, but Kallgren bailed out his teammate with a big stop on Chandler Stephenson.

Toronto got a power play of its own looking to stretch the lead to 4-2, but Smith scored his sixth on a 2-on-1 rush at 11:43 while short-handed after the Leafs got their signals crossed at the Knights’ blue line.

Vegas opened the scoring 45 seconds into the first after Leafs defenceman Rasmus Sandin turned the puck over at the offensive blue line.

Carrier had his ensuing breakaway stopped by Kallgren, who’s been pressed into service with Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov both injured, but the puck trickled through the Toronto goaltender and the hard-charging Roy was there to deposit for his fourth.

The Leafs responded at 5:05 when Liljegren took a feed from David Kampf to score his first of the campaign in his third game after missing the start of the schedule following hernia surgery.

But the defenceman needlessly gave the puck away late in the period to put an accent on a sloppy opening for the home side and set the table for Eichel’s sixth off a nice passing play with Stephenson and Mark Stone at 17:55 before redeeming himself in the second.

MURRAY GETTING CLOSER

Murray is scheduled to take part in Wednesday’s practice – the goaltender’s first on-ice session with the main group since injuring his groin/abductor on Oct. 15.

The 28-year-old was added in the summer along with Samsonov after Toronto waved goodbye to Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek.

Samsonov carried the bulk of the load with Murray out, but suffered a knee injury in Saturday’s victory against Boston.

Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said Tuesday the netminder is considered week-to-week.

EICHEL’S RETURNS (A SECOND TIME)

The 26-year-old centre will make his second trip to Buffalo on Thursday to take on his former team since last season’s trade.

Eichel was selected second overall by the Sabres – one spot behind Connor McDavid – at the 2015 draft, but never got close to a playoff spot.

The deal has worked out for both teams, with Vegas sitting atop the Western Conference and Buffalo a point out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot entering Tuesday.

“I wish all those guys the best,” Eichel said following the morning skate in Toronto. “I was a part of that organization for a lot of years and made a lot of great relationships.”

UP NEXT

Leafs: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

Knights: Visit the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2022.

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Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter.

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