Two sweet goals, about a minute and a half apart, and within the game’s opening two minutes had the Leafs looking really good last night.
Jake Gardiner scored on a beauty of a shot as he extraordinarily calmly outwaited all Flyer defenders before shooting the puck through about six bodies that eluded the Philly goalie.
“I was just trying to get it by the first guy,” offered Gardiner in the dressing room after the game.
“The guys in front pretty much did the rest. Lucky enough for it to sneak in there.”
As a team, that’s the closest thing to an ideal game.”
Then Mason Raymond scored off a pass from Joffrey Lupul to make it 3-2. And Nazem Kadri scored to give the team a 2-0 lead.
“Nazy’s seems to have caught fire,” says Coach Randy Carlyle.
Jay Rosehill and Frazer McLaren squared off in a heated scrap too, and this was one of the few Leafs victories this season with first-line scoring from the JVR, Kessel and Bozak line, but it didn’t matter anyways as the Leafs gunned down the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime and now head out on the road for a bunch of 10:30pm EST starts along the beautiful west coast of the United States.
It was nice to see all those guys who apparently were on the trade block back on Tuesday come through as they now all know they will be wearing the blue and white for at least another couple of months, well except Reimer as apparently Carlyle doesn’t know he still exists. Kadri scored, Gardiner scored etc.
It was a typical Leaf game, take a lead, then sit back on it for a period and a half then watch the other team claw its way back, then trade goals again, then go into overtime….but not a shootout, not this time. Instead Joffrey Lupul ended this circus when he scored off Dion Phaneuf’s 100th helper in a Leaf jersey.
Here it is:
Lupul game-winning goal
“We did get it back in the third period,” notes Carlyle in the post-game presser when asked what the hell happened to them in the second period after Kadri and Gardiner scored two quick, early goals.
He also added that some of the shifts were getting way too long, about nine players were staying out on the ice for as much as 55 seconds.
“That’s too long,” quotes Carlyle. “Tonight we were guilty of extending our shifts a little too long.”
“We scored a goal, we got ourselves back in it. For the last half of the second period, we looked like we stopped skating. A lot of the time, when the game gets away from you like that, the team continues to spiral (downward)”
Then we found a way to sneak in a big play in the overtime.”
Prior to the start of the game, the NHL club put some spotlight on 19 gold-and-silver medal winning Olympic athletes who won in Sochi in February. Among them were Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, Megan Agosta and some of her hockey teammates, and others.
There is no doubt that the Leafs will need every bit of that same secondary scoring that they got last night when the visit the western conference heavy hitters. The Montreal Canadiens got a good taste of it last night, getting shut out at the Shark Tank, 4-0. Toronto is there on Tuesday,
Now they get set for what should be their second biggest test of the season. If those matches back in early December where they tackled the Blues and Kings. They also played the Bhakws and Bruins at home that week too.
Sharks was a major outing, than this ladies and gentlemen, will definitely be another, starting tomorrow night at the Honda centre, they will take on the (mighty) Ducks of Anaheim. Anaheim somehow leads the NHL with 93 points. That’s 43 wins and 14 losses. Their goals-for total is 207, they have allowed 157 AND they are 24-5-4 on home ice at the Honda Centre.
San Jose is next up, the very next day/night. San Jose is currently one point better than the Chicago Blackhawks. That probably isn’t very re-assuring. I do know one thing thought, these Leafs usually play their ‘A’ game against teams like that. San Jose also sits right behind Anaheim with 41 wins and 17 losses.
After a break period on Wednesday in which I am sure Coach Carlyle no doubt has some practice ice booked somewhere, it is off to meet the Kings of Los Angelese, and they currently sit 11 points back of the Sharks and are third place in the Western Pacific.
How bout that Leaf fans? Visiting the teams ranked 1-2-3 in the Pacific….
Of course that could change between now and tomorrow night but it’s a fun fact right now.
Toronto now has two straight overtime victories since the NHL’s return from the Sochi Olympics. Yes both of those wins saw them blow a two-goal lead, but that information is not shown in the standings now is it? -)
Going into tomorrow night, there are only 17 games left in the season.
Winger David Clarkson was scratched for the Maple Leafs after a pulled muscle from Friday’s practice continued to bother him.
The Leafs honoured 19 gold- and silver-medal-winning Canadian Olympians prior to the game, including five players from the women’s hockey team.
Ex-Leafs forward Jay Rosehill took his place, making his biggest impact on the game by fighting McLaren in the second period.
LATE WEDNESDAY (3-2 OT win at NYR)
See, what did I tell you? Leave the Leafs roster alone on 2014 NHL Trade Deadline and look at what happens. They go out that night and they win against the NY Rangers, a team that usually has their number.
So, we still have Kadri, we still have Raymond, we still have Reimer and everybody else. Bozak goes out there and he scores two goals, including the overtime winner and everybody goes home happy.
Except for giving up two shorthanded goals on the same penalty, and two bad goals given up by Jonathan Bernier, I’d say it was a pretty good night. You have to look back over the last 10 years or so to find the last time Toronto gave up two shorthanded goals on the same penalty. So long ago I decided not to look it up myself!