Tavares scores OT winner to lift Maple Leafs past Ducks 5-4

Tavares scores OT winner to lift Maple Leafs past Ducks 5-4
Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares (91) knocks the puck past Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) to score in overtime during an NHL hockey game Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — John Tavares scored his second goal of the game at 4:53 of overtime, lifting the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

Auston Matthews got his 40th goal of the season to tie Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead and had three assists, while Jason Spezza and Andreas Johnsson also scored for Toronto. Mitch Marner also had three assists and Tavares had one.

Jack Campbell made 26 saves in his first start for the Maple Leafs, two nights after being acquired from Los Angeles.

Adam Henrique had a goal and an assist, and Nicolas Deslauriers, Max Jones and Derek Grant also scored for Anaheim. Ryan Miller finished with 30 saves for the Ducks, who were playing for the third time in four nights.

Tavares scored his 22nd goal of the season at the lip of the crease with 6.2 seconds left on the clock in the extra period.

Anaheim was forced to go with five defenseman for the third period and overtime after Erik Gudbranson left with an upper-body injury.

The Maple Leafs led 3-1 after 40 minutes, but like Monday’s 5-3 home loss to the Florida Panthers, they again blew a two-goal advantage on home ice as Jones scored short-handed and Henrique on a power play a little more than four minutes apart to tie it.

Spezza got Toronto back in front 4-3 when he raced down the right side, faked a shot on Miller, and scored his ninth upstairs from a tight angle with 3:27 left in regulation.

But Grant scored his 13th with 57 seconds left on the clock off a scramble in Campbell’s crease to knot it up again and force OT.

Forward Kyle Clifford also made his debut for the Maple Leafs following Wednesday’s trade with the Kings that brought him and Campbell to Toronto and sent forward Trevor Moore and two draft picks the other way.

No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen, recovering from a neck injury, won’t make the trip to Montreal for Saturday’s tilt with the Canadiens, but could return next week after consecutive days on the ice.

Tied 1-1 after the first period, Tavares scored his 21st, and third in thre games, on a power play 3:38 into the second off a pass from Matthews.

Toronto started to impose its will from there, with Marner nearly connecting after an incredible dangle around Jakob Silfverberg before Matthews came close on two chances.

After the Maple Leafs killed off a Tavares penalty midway through the second, the captain found Matthews off the rush, and he buried his 40th on a one-timer at 13:18 to make it 3-1. The 22-year-old equalled the career-high 40 goals he scored in his rookie season in 2016-17, and tied the 34-year-old Oveckhin’s 40 for the overall lead in 2019-20.

Campbell didn’t have a lot to do through two periods as Toronto kept things tight in front of its new goalie, but had to be sharp on a couple of chances by Cam Fowler late in the second. The 28-year-old Campbell continued his sharp play in the third as Anaheim started to push.

Matthews nearly scored his 41st at the other end, but his shot rattled the post behind Miller. The Ducks’ goalie then denied Pierre Engvall on a breakaway to keep Anaheim within striking distance.

Toronto got a power play looking to add to its lead, but Jones took advantage of a turnover and beat Campbell upstairs for his seventh at 8:34 to get Anaheim within one.

Anaheim tied it with 7:13 left in regulation when Henrique scored his 18th as he batted one out of the air on a power play.

Toronto took a 1-0 lead 4:36 into the game when Johnsson finished off a tick-tac-toe passing play with Marner and Matthews for his eighth. The goal was also the forward’s second in 10 games after missing 15 with a leg injury.

Deslauriers tied it exactly six minutes later when he took a cross-ice pass from Fowler and one-timed a shot past Campbell.

UP NEXT

Ducks: At Buffalo on Sunday.

Maple Leafs: At Montreal on Saturday night.