Leafs Postgame: The Reawakening

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

Tonight’s game started off with a wonderful ceremony, one that honoured both our veterans for Remembrance Day and the Hall of Fame Class of 2016 ahead of their inductions. It was a nice way of looking back to the past in a couple of different ways, though if you ask this group of Leafs, they had no urge to think very far backward. Not even to a few days ago. Especially not to a few days ago, as a matter of fact; the intention was to make their 7-0 loss to Los Angeles disappear from the history books.

Such an action is impossible, but they may as well have cancelled it out with a thrilling 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers tonight.

The Rundown

Just three minutes into this one, Nazem Kadri put the Leafs ahead on the scoresheet. Receiving a pass from Morgan Rielly, Kadri continued his hot streak by blasting past Michael Del Zotto and deking out Steve Mason for his 7th goal of the year.

The lead, however, was short-lived. James van Riemsdyk was penalized about a minute later for tripping Shayne Gostisbehere, and a point shot from Claude Giroux was redirected by Wayne Simmonds, who was asking as Frederik Andersen’s screen. Thirty seconds later, Travis Konecny took advantage of a defensive breakdown by the blue and white, powered through the whacks and attempted hauls of Connor Carrick, and scored his fourth of the season. For a second, it looked like Philly’s rookies would steal the show.

Not so. With a minute to go in the period, Rielly tied the game up once more with an extremely patient play, in which he received the puck from Mitch Marner and waited out his chance to snipe his first goal of the season.

While Simmonds responded early in the second with a shorthanded breakaway goal, Rielly’s tally inspired a wave of slump-busting in the third period. Four minutes in, Martin Marincin had the world’s most shocking game-tying goal when he absolutely pummelled a one-timer off a Rielly drop pass. Not long after, Zach Hyman saw an opportunity in the slot and pounced on the puck getting his first as well. If that wasn’t enough, Leo Komarov even reversed the Simmonds shortie with one of his own:

Just to add some icing on the cake, Mitch Marner capped off the night with his fifth of the year, wiring a shot from medium distance while Gostisbehere sat in the box in remorse. Toronto pushed for a 7th to bring the whole week full-circle, and while it didn’t work out, none of the fans at the Air Canada Centre cared as they saluted the fantastic final period that their team gave them.

Why The Leafs Won

Not a lot of rocket science required here. The third period was huge. Players coming out of their slumps and seeing pucks hit the back of the net was gigantic. The floodgates for Matthews once he gets back into form are going to be obscene.

Blue Warrior

What an obscenely great night for Morgan Rielly. A goal and three assists; many of those points being pretty ones, and some of the best possession numbers on the team. These are the nights that make you dream about his long-term upside, and make you laugh about that contract just a little bit more.

See You Next Time

Pennsylvania is calling the Leafs once again, but this time, they’ll be travelling down. Tomorrow, they’ll take on Stanley Cup Champion Phil Kessel and the Pittsburgh Penguins, in what should be just about the fastest game of hockey you’ll ever see. Puck drop will be at 7:00 PM, but you can check in here come morning for updates. See you then!