The Toronto Maple Leafs gave the best effort they could in front of some fans-from-a-distance in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but it didn’t go as planned. Despite a very strong third period, the Leafs gave up a late equalizer and fell to the Ottawa Senators by a score of 3 to 2.
The Leafs fell behind late in the first period of this one, thanks to a tricky, tricky play by ultra-elite Ottawa defenceman Erik Karlsson, who opted for a slap pass that was redirected home, and beyond Frederik Andersen, by Derrick Brassard. It led to a score that didn’t quite reflect the performance of the Leafs, especially as they began to put on pressure in the second and third periods.
In that last frame, they finally broke their dry spell. The hero of the period was no doubt roster longshot Byron Froese, who Leafs fans know as a draw-taking grinder despite the brilliant half-season he had with the Toronto Marlies in 2014/15. That was the Froese that showed up for this one, as he both tied the game with a rebound of a Morgan Rielly point shot and helped set up a go-ahead goal when he fed an open Kasperi Kapanen, who had one of his better nights of the pre-season.
Unfortunately, life wasn’t meant to be perfect for this team, and late in the period, Brassard added his own second point of the night, making a brilliant pass to Matt Puempel to tie it up. Toronto was given a late powerplay to make one more push for a win but lost it due to a penalty taken by Jake Gardiner.
With every pass on this PK, Auston Matthews gets a little closer, until he’s able to force a misplay and get the puck into the Neutral Zone. pic.twitter.com/TqBIQPZ2av
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 5, 2016
Auston Matthews, who once again looked like the best player on this team, helped kill it to force overtime. Unfortunately, that’s as close as the Leafs got to winning for the home-away-from-home crowd. Toronto still had that penalty to kill in overtime, and ultimately, Karlsson repeated his prior trick, opting to find Bobby Ryan for the game-winning, powerplay one-timer just twenty seconds into OT.
With the Loss, the Leafs move into… right, no season, no standings. Anyway, their next game is on Thursday, when the Leafs take on the Habs in Montreal. puck drop is at 7:30 PM.