It’s become a popular axiom that a three-goal lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey, something that has certainly held true for this iteration of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
When all hope was lost, the Maple Leafs’ offense, largely listless throughout the series, staged a furious comeback to send Game 4 against the Columbus Blue Jackets into overtime. With just under four minutes remaining, the Blue Jackets held a commanding 3-0 lead, appearing certain to eliminate the Maple Leafs in crushing fashion.
Cue the comeback.
William Nylander put the Maple Leafs on the board, tucking home a loose puck from in front of the net to cut the deficit to 3-1. At this point, the goal horn almost sounded insulting, but the Leafs were galvanized.
Maple Leafs captain John Tavares scored his second goal of the series just 51 seconds later, injecting a late burst of life into a team that looked all but finished.
During a frantic sequence, the Maple Leafs continued to put pressure on the Blue Jackets, who suddenly began to crumble as Zach Hyman took a cross-ice feed from Auston Matthews and wired it past Elvis Merzlikins, miraculously tying the game 3-3 with 23 seconds left.
Scoring 3 times in a 3:34 span late in the 3rd period to avoid elimination (at least for now) in Gm4 vs CBJ tonight, the #MapleLeafs join the Ducks (Gm5 of their 2017 Rd2 series vs EDM) as the only teams to trail a playoff game by 3 goals with under 4:00 left but rally to tie it pic.twitter.com/KMdOTSn23e— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) August 8, 2020
Matthews, who has been far and away the Maple Leafs’ best player throughout the series and season, fittingly scored the overtime winner from one of his favourite spots, with that patented all-world release.
And now the Leafs live to fight, at least, another day.
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