Leafs Postgame: Couldn’t Happen Any Other Way

USATSI_9738743 (1)
Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY SPORTS

That was something, wasn’t it? The Toronto Maple Leafs eked out a 6-5 regulation win against the Boston Bruins, but only after giving the entirety of two at least two cities multiple heart attacks along the way.

The Rundown

I guess we start this one with the Bruins taking their only lead of the game, two minutes into the first period. The Leafs coaching staff challenged this one as offside and failed (even if it was, it was minuscule), but the main point was that David Pastrnak was easily able to slide into attacking position and beat Frederik Andersen with a relatively harmless looking shot.

But the Leafs were having none of this. William Nylander took in a pass from Nazem Kadri, who got the puck from a gorgeous takeaway by Auston Matthews. Nylander quickly shifted to the side and beat Tuukka Rask, tying the game midway through the period. 

Fast forward to the same timeslot in the second period, where they unleashed a fury. James van Riemsdyk did some deking in the slot to make it 2-1, and 30 seconds later, Nylander went into Super-Saiyan mode, firing not one, but two absolute snipes in under 70 seconds. Which made it 4-1.

We all know about Boston and 4-1. The good news, though, is since Game 7, the Leafs hadn’t so much as conceded a goal in the other three occasions where they took that lead against the Bruins. Tonight was not one of those nights, though. Pastrnak added another to make it 4-2 within the minute (yes, that’s four goals in under 150 seconds), and Torey Krug took advantage of a Boston powerplay to close the gap to one with four minutes to go in the second period.

Midway through the third, Ryan Spooner made the finishing touch on a shift where Toronto’s fourth line and first pair were left chasing, tying the game. All of Toronto went into a panicked frenzy. But then Connor Brown played hero, putting the Leafs up 5-4.

Crisis averted. For a minute or so, at least, until Leo Komarov took a penalty and “Classic” Patrice Bergeron potted his 13th of the year to tie things up again. The game seemed poised to go to overtime and break everybody’s hearts at that point.

Thankfully, van Riemsdyk was having none of that, and did this to seal the game off once and for all, getting Toronto two big regulation points:

Blue Warrior

What can you say about William Nylander tonight that hasn’t been screamed by a million people? It’s great to have a reminder that the Big Three are indeed the big three, and that, you know, there’s no need to be screaming about trading Nylander for a depth defenceman (no matter how bad the third pair, particularly Marincin, was tonight).

He gets the main warrior for the hat trick, but two more should be given out: James van Riemsdyk scored two huge, pretty goals, and Matt Martin took a lot of damage in a fight with Adam McQuaid. Hopefully, he heals up well; it didn’t look pretty when it went down.

See You Next Time

With the win, the Leafs return to being a point back of Boston with five games in hand, which makes the whole situation all the sweeter. As well, Montreal and Ottawa both lost in regulation tonight, meaning that every team that is ahead of Toronto in the Atlantic Division lost a bit of their gap tonight.

Suddenly, the losing streak feels like a shame, but not a catastrophe. Now it’s time to build on it, though; they’ll begin a back to back on Monday when they take on the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center. With the Islanders regaining momentum under new head coach Doug Weight, that’s going to be another game where you don’t want to sacrifice too many points. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM.