Leafs Postgame: Worse Luck Next Time

Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins bring out the worst in every Leafs fan. No, they don’t make us angry; anger would just be a release for the long-suffering. They are the gasoline that fuels the depression. Whether it’s a memorable loss, bad trade, or awkward, the Bruins are always there to do it to you, and then add it to the list of reminders for next time.

Tonight, they’ll add another crazy game to that list as the Leafs dropped a heartbreaker by a 3-2 score.

To be honest, I don’t blame fans if they stopped watching this game after the first minute. There have been plenty of blowouts handed to the Leafs by the Bruins in the past few years, and while we’ve grown to accept Jonathan Bernier giving up the first shot, there’s something about Patrice Bergeron scoring on the Leafs that leaves you pondering the value of living the rest of your life.

If you survived the entirety of the game, however, you got to see some interesting things. Four and a half minutes later, Leo Komarov reaped the rewards of being the hard worker that he usually is.

From there, we got to see Rich Clune fill in the face of Zach Rinaldo, who even without teams considered, is immensely more difficult to cheer for. The Leafs were able to regain some momentum as the period hit its midway point but couldn’t turn it into a go-ahead tally. As long as Bergeron didn’t do the same thing again to start the second period, that wasn’t a big deal.

So here’s the thing about that…

I’m starting to think the Leafs should form a wall behind Bernier for the first shot against of every period. There’s no real rhyme or reason to why this always happens, but it’s hit trope-levels of frequency. Boston continued their streak of penalties against started during the first, but the Leafs didn’t convert on the opportunities given to them by Zach Trotman or Zdeno Chara. They did, however, convert at even strength, thanks to this goal by Shawn Matthias:

Bernier survived the start of the third period, presumably because the Bruins were on the penalty kill, but it was a step in the right direction. At the seven minute mark, however, things got weird.

Brad Marchand appeared to give Boston the lead for the third time of the night, but Mike Babcock and the coaching staff challenged the play, claiming that Marchand was offside. They were proven right, if only by a hair. But here was the catch; the Leafs also committed a penalty between the offside and the stoppage of play, and Matt Hunwick was to be sent to the box. As well, the faceoff was going to be in the Toronto zone, rather than the Neutral zone.

Mike Babcock wasn’t happy, and to be honest, I don’t blame him. There are two sides to this coin, and they both make sense. On one hand, Hunwick broke the rules and the league has a punishment for that. At the same time, it happened at a time where the play should have been dead; the clock was even reversed, meaning that the official time of his penalty was before its actual occurrence. Whatever the case, the Leafs killed the penalty and soldiered on.

Unfortunately for them, Marchand wasn’t happy either, and eventually got his revenge. With a minute left in regulation, Martin Marincin’s attempt to dump the puck out of the defensive zone landed right on his stick. With Jonathan Bernier still coming out from around the net, Marchand dropped to one knee and fired a game-winning, opponent-assisted one-timer.


This is a game where it’s really hard to declare somebody a Blue Warrior. None of the Leafs had positive possession numbers; Martin Marincin led the team with an awful 42.1% CF. Komarov and Matthias showed up on the scoresheet, but they weren’t mindblowing outside of their goals.

I guess if you have to give it to anyone, you give it to Jonathan Bernier. It definitely stings to see him give up those first shots in the first minute (and a winner at the last minute), but he stopped 42 other shots; that’s a lot of puck, and a higher percentage of puck than Tuukka Rask

It’s also the fifth loss in a row for the team. While Babcock continues to be fantastic, and the team continues to give pat on the back performances, the fear that they might win their way into the mediocre part of the standings once again is starting to subdue. A win by Columbus and an OT loss by Edmonton puts the Leafs in sole possession of 30th place. Winning those five games would have put the Leafs one point out of the playoffs. It’s crazy what parity is capable of doing to the standings.

Next up for the Leafs are the Philadelphia Flyers. They’ve been above average in their past ten, though they have a game against Detroit tomorrow that could take them down a peg. I guess we’ll have to wait until Tuesday at 7PM to see what comes out of it!

  • jimithy

    all going according to plan. watching bernier continue to let in goals in the opening minutes is painful. the leafs missing grade a chances because they have no elite talent is sad to watch but it’s still better than the randy carlyle/peter horachek/ron wilson/paul maurice era tbh. bernier has got to make those early saves before the team is sunk. the leafs have looked awful since san jose. are we sure carlyle isn’t giving them coaching advice?

  • jimithy

    Healy is such a clown. I can’t stand him! “Just put on any helmet and get out there!” He was blaming Rielly for taking safety precautions and putting his health first over a damn game smh. Winning is more important than protecting your brain to prevent concussions/brain trauma according to Healy. When will he be fired?! Canada has suffered enough without winning a cup in 23 years!!! #FireHealy

  • STAN

    The Leafs looked out of sorts from the opening faceoff, and that wholesale change after the inaugural shift was horrid. I don’t blame Bernier for losing on a breakaway to a player of Bergeron’s calibre.

    Marinicin’s soft fee right onto the stick of Marchand was bad… and that was the game.

    Bring on Auston Matthews!!

  • STAN

    Can the Leafs trade away the first round pick already? It is looking like a lottery pick and we know the Leafs would rather get an over paid over rated player. I hear Vancouver has Chris Higgins on the trade block.

  • STAN

    Let’s be honest, do we want the Leafs to win and make the playoffs as the 16th seed. I would prefer to have a chance at Mathews, tkachuk, one of the Fins to add to the impress list of prospects that we already have.
    As far as I’m concerned it was good news last night, the Oilers, Sabres and Blue Jackets all won unfortunate that still have games in hand.