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McCabe scores in OT, Matthews gets No. 65 as Maple Leafs beat Penguins 3-2

TORONTO (AP) — Jake McCabe scored at 1:30 of overtime and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on Monday night.

Auston Matthews got his NHL-leading 65th goal of the season to go along with an assist, while Matthew Knies also scored for Toronto. Ilya Samsonov made 30 saves.

In the extra period, McCabe took a pass from Auston Matthews after a near mix-up at Toronto’s bench between Mitch Marner and Tyler Bertuzzi and buried his eighth goal of the season.

“I was waiting to see what Mitch and Bert were gonna do,” McCabe said. “Auston found me on the backside.”

Rickard Rakell and Drew O’Connor scored for Pittsburgh, which is now 6-0-3 over its last nine to get back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. Alex Nedeljkovic had 20 saves.

The Penguins are tied with Detroit for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference, and trail the New York Islanders by one point for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Matthews gave Toronto a 2-1 lead on the power play at 1:22 of the third period when he ripped a one-timer 3 seconds into the man advantage. Matthews has scored six times in the last five games, and remains on pace to put up 69 goals with five games left in the season as he looks to become the first player to hit 70 in more than three decades.

“You know, 60 was crazy. … 65 it’s … you look at it in awe,” Knies said. “It’s pretty incredible what he can do. ... Cross my fingers. I want to see 70.”

Matthews’ 65 goals matched Alex Ovechkin’s total from 2007-08 — the most by an active player and the NHL’s high-water mark since Mario Lemieux scored 69 in 1995-96.

“He’s going about it the right way,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He’s trusting that his ability is going to shine through — he’s going to be able to score — and however it works out in the end, I think he’ll be content. ... Certainly should be proud of what he’s done, how he’s handled himself, all the way through.”

However, Pittsburgh tied it with 6:42 remaining when Drew O’Connor swatted home his 14th off a scramble in the crease.

The Penguins sat nine points below the playoff cutline on March 27, but have dragged themselves back into the race thanks to its nine-game point streak — and some pedestrian performances from the teams above and around them in the standings.

“Close game,” said Crosby, who had a skate issue and never saw the ice in OT. “We’ll look at this as hopefully an important point here down the road.”

Toronto killed off two Pittsburgh power plays, including a great chance off the stick of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, in a sleepy opening period for the Maple Leafs.

Evgeni Malkin took advantage of a turnover by Ilya Lyubushkin and fed a pass to Rakell, who kicked the puck to his stick before spinning and firing home his 14th with former Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting creating a screen with 1:54 left in the first period.

Toronto, which has already secured a postseason berth started the second period with a couple of dominant shifts in the offensive zone before T.J. Brodie found Knies at the lip of the Pittsburgh crease to redirect his 15th past Nedeljkovic.

UP NEXT

Penguins: Host Detroit on Thursday night to open a three-game homestand.

Maple Leafs: At New Jersey on Tuesday night.

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AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL