Leafs Postgame: Ban The Shootout

Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Toronto Maple Leafs saw their short winning streak snapped by the New York Rangers tonight, but managed to steal a point by dragging the game to a shootout. Here’s how the 2-1 loss with for them.

The Rundown

Toronto took the lead midway through the first period, with the help of a new friend. Alexey Marchenko realized that Jake Gardiner had a better look towards the net than him, and sent it over to the other side. Gardiner threw it towards the net, Tyler Bozak put a little English on it, and Connor Brown cleaned up the leftovers to bury his fifteenth goal of the season, putting his team up.

But then.. nothing. A lot of saves by Henrik Lundqvist. Even more of them by Frederik Andersen. The two traded efforts for forty minutes before Nikita Zaitsev, in attempt to stop a breakaway, took a penalty for tripping up Mats Zuccarello. The Rangers took advantage of the opportunity, and JT miller tied the game in what felt like an inevitability.

The remainder of regulation was intense, and overtime even more so. Both teams traded some dangerous scoring chances, between all the giveaways, takeaways, and breakaways that the five minutes afforded them. This sent the game to the shootout, and while Auston Matthews did manage to snipe his attempt home, he was Toronto’s only threat, while two Rangers forwards found ways to beat Andersen and, as such, win the game.

Why The Leafs Lost


A lot of reasons, really. They never really had significant pressure; they were chasing a lot, they had their lunch handed to them at the dot by a team that’s normally one of the worst at faceoffs in the league, and their familiarity with home ice led to them often literally falling flat on their face, as the sudden wave of humidity in Toronto left the conditions at the ACC a little sub-optimal. Don’t get us started on the shootout; it’s been a torture zone all year for them.

Blue Warrior

Frederik Andersen was great tonight. Hard not to give this to the guy who managed to make 37 of 38 possible saves. A shame that he went 1 for 3 in the skills competition, but he got them there in the first place.

See You Next Time

The good news is that it gives the Leafs a needed boost in the standings; they’re now four points back of the Atlantic Division lead, and two points clear of being in the drop zone (yeah, this thing is going to be close). Their next game comes on Saturday against the Habs; win that and this race becomes very, very interesting.