Damon Severson had never scored an overtime goal in the NHL, and this wasn’t how he envisioned his first. The Devils defenseman backhanded the puck into his own net with 2:22 left in overtime, lifting the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over New Jersey on Friday night for their season-best sixth straight victory.
Severson got the puck after Toronto’s William Nylander lost control of it driving toward New Jersey’s net. The 25-year-old Severson inadvertently beat goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood while trying to clear the puck out of danger. Nylander was credited with the goal. Nylander set up the play by taking the puck from Jack Hughes. It’s Toronto’s longest winning streak since November of 2017. Zach Hyman, Ilya Mikheyev, Kasperi Kapanen and John Tavares scored for Toronto, which witnessed a scary moment in the third period when Mikheyev sustained a deep gash on his right wrist from Hughes’ skate. Mikheyev was being held for observation at a hospital.
Nico Hischier, Nitita Gusev, Kyle Palmieri and Jesper Bratt scored for New Jersey, and Blackwood made 32 saves.
Tavares tied it at 4 with 11:45 left in the third period with a tap-in power-play goal from Blackwood’s crease. Nylander made the pass to set it up. The teams combined for seven goals during a wide-open first 40 minutes. Palmieri and Bratt got the last two a little more than three minutes apart to give the Devils a 4-3 lead.
Palmieri scored his 15th of the season on a point-blank shot shortly after lifting Tyson Barrie’s stick to take the puck and tie it at 3. Palmieri jumped on a center-ice turnover by Kapanen to set up the go-ahead goal by Bratt at 10:11. Hyman and Mikheyev scored 19 seconds apart late in the first period to give the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead.