Photo Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Leafs Postgame: Leafs Win, Leapfrog Isles into Playoff Position

Only 15 games left in the season now; 15 games for the Leafs to hang onto their playoff spot or fall just shy. With this win in Raleigh and the Islanders loss in St. Louis, the Leafs have leap-frogged back into the WildCard spot with the Rangers.


  • Starting in goal for the Maple Leafs is Frederik Andersen. Starting in goal for the Hurricanes is Cam Ward.
  • Both teams started out fairly hesitant,
  • Carolina open the scoring at 8:59 in the first with a goal from Victor Rask, assists from Elias Lindholm and Brett Pesce. 1-0 Hurricanes.
  • Toronto even up the scoring soon after, at 9:52 in the first, with a goal from Mitch Marner, assists from Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk. 1-1 tied game.
  • Nikita Zaitsev takes a cross-checking penalty against Lindholm at 19:01 in the first. Leafs on the penalty kill.
  • Leafs will start the second period on the penalty kill for 1:01.
  • Jordan Staal opens the second period with a powerplay goal at 45 seconds. Assisted by Teravainen and Justin Faulk. 2-1 Hurricanes.
  • Cam Ward takes a bizarre interference penalty, going behind the net, but making no attempt to play the puck, instead allowing Nazem Kadri to bowl him over.
  • Jeff Skinner serves Ward’s 2 minute interference penalty. Leafs on the powerplay.
  • van Riemsdyk scores at 7:37 in the second, with the assist from Marner. 2-2 tied game.
  • Lots of neutral zone turnovers throughout the midpoint of the second. Neither team seems to be able to confidently take it from end to end.
  • The giveaways continued through to the end of the second period, but the score remained tied at 2.
  • Martin Marincin takes a penalty 42 seconds into the third period for holding against Jeff Skinner. Leafs on the penalty kill.
  • Both teams continued to turn over the puck throughout the third, resulting in a back and forth game.
  • The clock runs down and the third period ends with both teams tied at 2.
  • Overtime is ended at 2:13 with an unassisted goal by Morgan Rielly.


Tonight’s Blue Warrior goes to Morgan Rielly. He had a solid game (despite the turnovers), played well with Zaitsev. And… he was responsible for ending the turnover-filled, back-and-forth, consistently frustrating torture that was the third period and overtime.

That being said, Morgan Rielly has been providing a consistently solid level of play that was missing in the early part of the season. You don’t always see Rielly, there’s not necessarily any flashy plays. And that is perfect. That is what the Leafs need more than anything on the back end right now. Consistently solid and boring.

… But I’ll also accept a few additional shots like this too.


Shoutout tonight goes to Mitch Marner, who appears to be bound and determined (even when some of his teammates lose faith) to drag this Leafs team kicking and screaming into the playoffs. James van Riemsdyk mentioned it in his intermission interview, that things had definitely picked up now that Marner was back in the lineup after missing games due to injury. Marner scored a goal in this game, taking his total to 17 on the season, and laid a hit on Teravainen that lead to a turnover and a shot on goal.


The Toronto Maple Leafs move on into Florida next, taking on the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, March 14th. Puck drops at the BB&T Center at 7:30pm.

  • MartinPolak

    Rielly was great. And the unsung hereo who impressed me was Polak tonight. He led the team with TOI and his veteran experience was important component to ease the work load and difficult from Rielly. And Rielly was a beast when more properly utilized

  • Gary Empey

    The Leafs worked hard and wanted the two points more than Carolina. The Hurricanes were lucky to get a point. They had some shots but for the most part the Leafs kept them to the perimeter. I though both of the Canes goals came off deflections.

  • lukewarmwater

    An important road win for the young leaf squad. Marvelous Mitch stepping into high gear now as he had a goal and an assist. What a difference in the power play this season with Nylander and Marner using their sniping abilities. Still would like to see Matthews get more power play time, you might have to double shift him occasionally but this talented big, strong rookie should be able to handle a couple extra minutes. I can’t believe that Matthews has just 14 minutes in penalties, obviously a candidate for the Lady Byng trophy. He will have to learn to crash the net, throw is weight around and give some solid hits. Obviously zero other complaints about number 34’s game. Damn I look good wearing his jersey. Watching Jake Gardiner at times is like watching the dentist come at you to start the route canal. Twice in o.t. he actually backed away from his check and allowed the Carolina player to almost score. That was Gardiner at his brutal worst. Good to see Andersen being so solid for the past while even in the Cali trip he had two solid games. The Habs are now only 6 points up from being out of the playoffs. They have been a lousy 500 club since that quick start at the beginning of the season.

    • Harte of a Lion

      Luke revisited, since when have the Habs been a good team other than beating the Leafs over and over this season. I’d love for the Leafs and Habs to meet in the playoffs so Toronto can even the score and beat them four games.

      • Stan Smith

        The only cirticism I have of Matthews is I would like to see him use his size, and body, more without the puck, especially to separate the opposing players from the puck. I get frustrated watching him wave and poke his stick at opposing players as they skate past him with the puck. Gee, I said puck a lot there.

      • Bill-Burford

        Nylander has been and is a very important part of this young team this year because of his puck movement ability.Believe me he is not forgotten he is doing exactly what is asked of him and more.

  • STAN

    How much longer can the Leafs allow 35+ shots per game and still win? Glad for the 3-game winning streak, but they must figure out a way to stop opponents from easily entering their zone and giving up so many chances. Next!!

  • Glen

    The Leafs got the all important two points but that game was a dogs breakfast. Anderson and Marner were great the rest muddled through. Still a valuable game for the kids as they lean to win games like this.

  • Stan Smith

    I have read a number of comments on how the Leafs were lucky to beat the Wings and Phily this week, and I disagreed, feeling they were deserving of those wins. Tonight, however, I think they were lucky to get the win. With the exception of the last half of the first period, and the first half of the third, Carolina clearly outplayed them.

    Rielly was a little better defensively tonight but as for your comment “Morgan Rielly has been providing a consistently solid level of play that was missing in the early part of the season.” Are you kidding? He has been terrible now for over a month. This past week I think he has been on the ice for every opposition goal. I was glad to see him score the winner, even though it was a much Ward playing it terrible, as it was a good shot from Rielly.

    I would have given the Blue Warrior to Mitch Marner. His “Wow” goal in the first turned the game around for the Leafs who were getting badly outplayed to that point, just as Nylander’s did against the Flyers. Him and Bozak should have both had assists on JVR’s last goal.

    • getrdone

      Stan, I agree with your assessment of this game, they were lucky to get the points and had it not been for Andersen Marner, Bozak and FVR showing up for the game they would have left Raleigh without a point. I hope the rest of the team treated them to a good meal.

  • paul wodehouse

    i’m from over there at the oilers nation site and i’m a leaf fan from the sixties and seventies…in other words i’m an old fart …spent 35 years in Edmonton so you can figure out where my loyalties are for obvious reasons …I still really dig on the leafs BUT this phenomenal player Auston Matthews …doing all these unreal things and bringing the leaf franchise back from a darker place than the oilers have been for ten years …why does he wear the jersey of a backup goalie?

  • Bill-Burford

    Hey people I guess we can relax.I was talking with an old school chum that played in the NHL for years.He says Toronto is going to the playoffs and not to underestimate their coach once they get there.