Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski / USA TODAY Sports

Leafs Postgame: These Leafs Aren’t Those Leafs

Just in case you needed any proof that this isn’t the same team from 2013, the Toronto Maple Leafs gave the world an encore tonight. For the fourth time this year, they faced the Boston Bruins. For the fourth time this year, they took a 4-1 lead over the Boston Bruins. For the fourth time this year, they beat the Boston Bruins.

The Rundown

If we’re being honest about the whole thing, this game was actually pretty close, and at times, even looked gloomy. David Backes opened up the scoring for the Bruins by burying a shot made possible by Brad Marchand making Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaitsev look silly in different ways, dangling one and baiting the other to create an open chance.

The Leafs were quick to respond, though, as seven minutes later, Morgan Rielly answered with his sixth of the season, made possible by a good shift and a better pass from Mitch Marner. They were timely goals for both teams, not that the fans would know, as the two sides played two full periods without the scoreboard shot or time clocks working properly.

This made it awkward to time shifts, or track penalties, and there were a fair share of those. The two teams played tough, and sometimes dirty, trying to find a way to get an edge in this one.

Eventually, it came in Toronto’s, when with two minutes to go in the third, with Dominic Moore in the box, Tyler Bozak came to the rescue with his 17th of the year:

William Nylander and Nazem Kadri added empty netters shortly afterwards, and while Moore got a vengeance goal with ten seconds to go, the Leafs held on for the massive, massive win.

Why The Leafs Won

It’s cheesy to say something like “relentlessness”, but at no point did the team try to play anything safe, or back down when the Bruins tried to flex toughness on them. Frederik Andersen didn’t let himself lose composure when commotion came to the front of the net. It was just a solid front to back effort, even when they didn’t have control. Zero complacency, and that’s what you want to see.

Blue Warrior

At the front of that was Leo Komarov, who didn’t particularly light up the scoresheet, but man, did he spend a lot of time pissing off Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and anyone he could, really. This was some vintage, 2013 Uncle Leo and you had to love it.

See You Next Time

With the win, the Leafs move to 33-23-15 on the season and hit the 80 point mark for the first time since 2014. Toronto remains in the second wild card position but jumps three points ahead of the New York Islanders, four ahead of Tampa Bay, and seven ahead of Philadelphia. They’re also now just two removed from Boston for the third seed in the division, so if all goes right, they might still have some room to climb. Their next game comes on Wednesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

  • lukewarmwater

    Uhh Jeffer I hate to correct you but the leafs went into the game with 79 points, Boston went into the game with 82, now the leafs got 2 points with the win, Boston got zero, as they did all freaking year. So 79 plus 2 equals 81 which means the leafs are removed just one point from Boston. Isn’t math simple Jeffer. Other than that it was a good posting by you tonight.

      • pettycamp

        Although his wording wasn’t the greatest, I suspect he meant the Leafs need 2 points to jump over Boston since the latter has the tie-breaker. Getting 1 point and tying them would be meaningless.

      • Dunedin

        I think the OT loss to Chicago was more important to this Leaf team than the win last night. Chicago can pressure you and then destroy you. See what the Blackhawks did to Colorado (yes I know the Avs are pathetic) on Sunday. The Leafs withstood a ton of pressure on Saturday. I think that game did more for them than any other recent game.

        Now as long as the don’t have a stinker against NJ on Thursday.

  • lukewarmwater

    Now that was fun as I have to admit it was nice to borrow the Habs special refs. But in reality look at how many calls have gone against the leafs in recent games. Poor Bruins broadcast team whining and crying all night. How about that power play by the leafs as Bozak will be soon a 20 goal center and both Kadri and awesome Matthews 30 goal centers. Who would have thunk this at the beginning of the year.
    I said from day one that Mitch Marner has the great ones peripheral vision of the ice. That back hand pass was truly wicked, few guys in the league can make that pass on to the tape of the stick and the kid is only 19.
    Andersen once again superb in the nets and two absolutely beautiful empty net goals. Great to see Uncle Leo converse with the rat in all the languages that he speaks. Way to go leafs, keep it up. Go leafs Go.

  • Glen

    Hey now this is something, the Leafs sweep the Bruins,good on the vets like Kadri and Bozak who had to endure that humiliation three yr ago. Those guys played a big part in last nights game. Still a ways to go but things are looking good, lets hope the guys don’t get to giddy. It is nice to see steller goaltending for a change. Go Leafs GO.

  • Stan Smith

    As much as I don’t want to get my hopes up, the Leafs are starting to make me believe just maybe.

    A few observations about last night. First, I actually saw JVR behind his own net. It has probably happened before, I just have never actually seen it.

    I know the clocks and timing were screwed up but did Matthews line only get 9 minutes of ice time last time? If that is true I’m curious as to why? I also see Boyle got credited with less than 6 minutes and it looked to me like he was out there more than that.

    One thing the Leafs have struggled to do all season long is score in the empty net. Points were lost because of that inability. Now Kadri has two in recent games and Nylander one. I wonder if they have been practising their shooting on the empty net. Were Nylander’s and Kadri’s shots last night pure luck, or have they been working on that?