October 8, 2018 / 2:28 AM / 6 months ago

Rielly lifts Leafs past Blackhawks 7-6 in OT

Morgan Rielly scored 19 seconds into overtime to lift the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs to a wild 7-6 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday evening.

John Tavares recorded his ninth career hat trick — and his first since joining Toronto — in the fast-paced victory. Auston Matthews added two goals and two assists, while Rielly finished with one goal and two assists. Kasperi Kapanen netted Toronto’s initial goal.

Patrick Kane scored a pair of goals for Chicago. Jonathan Toews contributed his team-leading fifth goal, while Duncan Keith and rookie Henri Jokiharju tallied three assists apiece.

The loss spoiled the home opener for the Blackhawks, who began the season with a pair of overtime wins on the road.

A wild finish to the third period prompted overtime. The teams combined for three goals in the final 84 seconds as Chicago evened the score at 5, Toronto went ahead 6-5 and Chicago again pulled even at 6.

Maple Leafs goaltender Garret Sparks earned the win despite allowing six goals on 31 shots. He fared slightly better than Blackhawks goaltender Cam Ward, who surrendered seven goals on 34 shots.

The score was even at 4 midway through the third period when Tavares capped off his hat trick at 9:29. The talented 28-year-old has four goals in three games since signing a seven-year, $77 million deal this summer.

Kane evened the score at 5 with 1:24 to play. But the advantage lasted for only 22 seconds before Matthews put Toronto back on top 6-5 with his team-leading fifth goal.

Momentum quickly swung once again as Kane scored with 29 seconds remaining in the third period to make it 6-all.

Rielly finished the frenzy in the first minute of overtime. He cut to the slot and ripped a wrist shot past Ward’s glove side. Maple Leafs center Patrick Marleau, who drew an assist on the play, lifted his arms in celebration near the right side of the net as a frustrated Ward swung his head away from the puck.

Toews and Matthews are tied for the league lead in goals.

Alex DeBrincat, John Hayden and Brandon Manning also scored for Chicago.

The Blackhawks conducted a 21-second moment of silence before the game in honor of Stan Mikita, who wore No. 21 for the team during his Hall of Fame career. Mikita died in August at age 78.

—Field Level Media

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