John Tavares scores in OT, Maple Leafs top Golden Knights
TORONTO (AP) — John Tavares spoiled Malcolm Subban’s homecoming.
Tavares beat Subban at 2:33 of overtime to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 2-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.
Playing his second game 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, beating Subban with a high shot.
“I’m just trying to get available and make the (passing) lane as easy as I can,” Tavares said. “Just tried to reward a good play.”
Subban made 35 saves in his first NHL start in his hometown.
“It would have been nice to get the win,” said Subban, the younger brother of New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban. “But it was great to finally play here.”
Auston Matthews also scored and Frederik Andersen made 37 saves to help Toronto win its third straight game. “By far our best player,” Matthews said about Andersen. “He just kept us in it.”
Max Pacioretty opened the scoring for Vegas at 4:08 of the third period on a gift from Toronto defenseman 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.
Toronto’s power play was 0 for 5 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 at 8:14.
“We pretty much said, ‘What do we have to lose? Let’s move around, let’s get the penalty kill thinking more,’” Matthews said. “We did a really good job of that, different guys going to different areas and just reacting. We came together as a five-man group, outlined a couple things and just went from there.”
NOTES: Toronto’s Mike Babcock became the eighth coach in NHL history to reach 700 victories. ... Vegas’ Jonathan Marchessault played his 300th regular-season game.
Golden Knights: At Washington on Saturday night.
Maple Leafs: Host Philadelphia on Saturday night.