Leafs Postgame: Slightly Better Day For A Bad Result

Photo Credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY SPORTS

Things looked really good for the Leafs at times tonight, as they held no fewer than three leads against the New York Islanders. Unfortunately, their end result was about as pretty as the view from the far end zone at the Barclays Center, as the blue and white fell to a 6-5 overtime defeat against the New York Islanders.

The Rundown

This game felt like a groan-inducer right from the start, when Ryan Strome put in his own rebound to put the Islanders up 1-0 less than ninety seconds into the affair. To the credit of the Leafs, though, they didn’t take long to fight back; Nikita Soshnikov tied the game from the fourth line with his fourth goal of the season at the thirteen-minute mark, and not long after, Auston Matthews buried a pass from Morgan Rielly to put the team ahead. The period, however, would not close peacefully, as Nikolay (but also totally still ex-Leafs forward Nikolai) Kulemin restored balance with a minute and a half to go.

The Leafs made another push in the second period, and it was the rookies who continued to lead the way. Mitch Marner rifled a wrister past Thomas Greiss about five minutes into the middle frame, and Zach Hyman followed it up with a shorthanded goal that tied a single-season Leafs rookie record.

Brock Nelson took only four minutes to respond to that, though, and Josh Bailey finished New York’s comeback with six and a half minutes to go in the third period. But after that, much like James van Riemsdyk on Saturday night, William Nylander played hero and buried another go-ahead tally with about two minutes to go.

..played hero in theory, I should say. Andrew Ladd deflected a point shot from Josh Bailey behind Frederik Andersen just 32 seconds later, and in overtime, Brock Nelson capped the game off for the Islanders, ending another roller coaster for the Leafs.

Why The Leafs Lost

The team, once again, seemed to struggle the secondly you looked beyond the forwards. Every pair spent its fair share of time chasing the puck, none of them did a particularly great job of clearing the slot, I’m not quite sure what Morgan Rielly was doing on the tying goal, and that’s eleven goals on Frederik Andersen in two games.

It’s, uhh, something. Something awful that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Oh, and another rough showing for Ben Smith, though I’m sure we’ll hear about the importance he has at the faceoff dot, like the draw that led to the Ladd goal where he was on the wing instead.

Blue Warrior

I’m going to give this one to Mitch Marner solely for the fact that he had better GIFs and Corsi than the other rookies, but for the most part, this goes to the youth on the whole. This is the first game in Leafs history where five different rookies have scored, Hyman tied that obscure shorthanded goal record, and with tonight’s points, the Leafs now have six players in the top 12 of rookie scoring. That’s pretty sweet.

See You Next Time

It’s another night and another game tomorrow when the Leafs take on the Dallas Stars. 7:30 puck drop, and hopefully a better result. Hey, by the way: that loser point put the Leafs back in a playoff spot. Can’t be so bad, right? Right?!

Whatever the case, better to cough this one up in OT and get the regulation points against Boston than the other way around. See you tomorrow.