Sam Reinhart scored at 3:02 of overtime as the Florida Panthers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Sunday to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their second-round playoff series.

The centre grabbed the puck behind the net and wrapped it around on a surprised Joseph Woll before the Panthers spilled off the bench. It was Reinhart's fifth goal of the playoffs.

Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe had the other goals for Florida, which won the first two games on the road and can close the best-of-seven matchup with a sweep Wednesday back at FLA Live Arena.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 22 saves for the Panthers, who are up 3-0 in a series for the first time since 1996.

Erik Gustafsson and Sam Lafferty replied for Toronto. Woll stopped 18 shots after replacing Ilya Samsonov, who was injured in a collision with Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn in a case of friendly fire early in the second period. Samsonov made eight saves.

The Leafs fell to 3-1 on the road in the playoffs — all in OT — and have lost three in a row for the first time since late October following a tough night for star forwards Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and John Tavares.

Only four teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series in NHL history — Toronto (1942), New York Islanders (1975), Philadelphia Flyers (2010) and the Los Angeles Kings (2014).

Toronto defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round for the Original Six franchise's first series victory in nearly two decades. Florida, meanwhile, upset the Presidents' Trophy-winning Boston Bruins with three straight victories — including two in OT — after trailing that series 3-1.

Up 1-0 after Sunday's first period, Samsonov was hurt 37 seconds into the second when Schenn bowled into his netminder trying to thwart a Florida scoring chance. The Russian stayed down and was looked at by Toronto's trainer before exiting.

Woll, who played the third period of Game 1 against Tampa in the Leafs' 7-3 loss last round, came off the bench in relief with Schenn in the penalty box for tripping.

Toronto nearly killed off the Florida power play, but Duclair scored his second of the post-season on a nice deke to tie things at 2:36.

The Leafs went back in front at 7:32 when Gustafsson, who entered the lineup with Toronto electing to dress 11 forwards and seven defencemen with winger Matthew Knies (concussion) out, saw his pass in front bounce into Florida's goal for his first off the stick of blue liner Marc Staal after some nice work from William Nylander.

But the Panthers, who picked up two victories in Toronto thanks in large part to Bobrovsky's stellar play, and entered on a five-game playoff winning streak that set a franchise record, knotted the score again at 12:28 when Verhaeghe tipped in his fourth.

Woll made a big stop on Anton Lundell with under seven minutes left in regulation to keep the Leafs' hopes alive before a huge save on Sam Bennett off a pair of egregious turnovers to force the extra period.

Toronto opened the scoring on a 2-on-1 at 2:26 of the first when Lafferty one-timed a David Kampf pass after Auston Matthews hit the post less than 20 seconds into the game.


The Panthers did their best to limit Toronto support inside FLA Live Arena with a ticketing policy that required a U.S. address for the first 24 hours of seat sales, but that didn't stop thousands of fans sporting blue and white from getting in the building.


Toronto has won just one series in its history after dropping the first two games at home. The first time came in 1942 when the Leafs fell behind the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 before coming back to win it in seven — a first in the NHL — in the Stanley Cup final.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2023.