Leafs Postgame: Mitch Please

Photo Credit: Robert Mayer/USA TODAY SPORTS

This was a nerve-wrecker, a gut puncher, and ultimately, a stress reliever. In one of the most absurd games of the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs managed to squeak out their first shootout win of the season by defeating Canucks Army the Florida Panthers by a 3-2 result.

The Rundown

Where do we even start with this one? Oh, right; we start with this Auston Matthews goal. 

Descrambles the feed from Connor Brown, moves it around Roberto Luongo, and suddenly, he’s tucked in his 17th goal of the regular season, just like that. It was a dominant period for the superstar young centre, but none of his other cheeky efforts ended up turning into goals. 

Fast forwarding to the second period, the Leafs appeared to go up by two thanks to a goal from James van Riemsdyk. It ended up being disallowed due to some minor contact from Nazem Kadri, but Toronto ended up drawing some penalties from the play and headed to a 5-on-3 advantage. That turned into a 4-on-3 due to an odd phantom call against van Riemsdyk, but shortly thereafter, William Nylander pulled off this cheeky snipe on the powerplay to get that insurance tally right back:

This gave the Leafs a comfortable lead heading into the third period, but in classic Leafs fashion, it dissipated; Jonathan Marchessault continued his storybook year with a goal just 31 seconds into the frame, and Vincent Trochek tied it up not long after. Mike Babcock used his team’s timeout at that point, and momentum seemed to go back. Kind of.

Many were unamused when this wasn’t called, and they became even angrier when this turned into a penalty shot:

Andersen stopped Denis Malgin’s effort, though, and the game ended up eventually going to overtime. The Leafs put on gigantic pressure, but couldn’t turn it into anything, sending the whole ordeal to a shootout. It seemed like a sure-fire loss at that point, but when former Leaf Seth Griffith didn’t pull a Peter Holland, hope was restored and placed into the hands of Mitch Marner. Marner had been snakebit throughout the 65 prior minutes but in this case…

He scored the shootout’s lone goal to improve Toronto’s record to 1-5 in the cointoss, and add an important extra point to the standings.

Blue Warrior

Frederik Andersen, no question. The Leafs played pretty well overall, and players like Matthews and Marner had big nights, but you have to respect a goaltending duel that ends in Freddie pulling 44 saves out of 47 shots. Roberto Luongo definitely agreed:

See You Next Time

The Leafs have now won three in a row! But there’s another game on the agenda. They’ll be remaining in the division and even in the state as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop is at 7:30.