December 05 2013 09:26PM
IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!
When Jonathan Bernier chose to wear the number 45 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, I don't think he chose it thinking that's the average number of shots he'd face per night. Low and behold, he topped his number and made 48 saves on 50 freaking shots, and the Leafs snap their five-game losing streak.
Look at this crap.
For the non-Fenwick-savvy crowd, the Dallas Stars fired the kitchen sink at the Leafs, and luckily, Bernier's renovating his kitchen.
The first period was relatively even. Yes, the Stars outshot the Leafs 15-7, but Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen was forced to make several sprawling saves. It took Toronto about halfway through the opening frame to get a second shot attempt, but while putting the puck on net is vital, the goal is to put the puck in it, and the Leafs came close.
Second period - the Dream. Well, not the Dream anymore, I guess.
I never realized "The Dream" came from the mispronunciation of Nazem. I always thought it was supposed to be like Ka-Dream, but apparently I suck. I propose his new nickname should be the Nazmanian Devil.
Anyway, James van Riemsdyk went hard into the corner with Trevor Daley. JVR fell awkwardly on Daley's leg, Daley slammed into the boards, but play continued. The puck came to a wide-open Kadri with the Stars at a disadvantage and it's 1-0 Leafs. Bernier to the rescue stopping all 12 shots in the second and we go to the third.
Annnd the wheels come off.
A combination of a brutal line change and Paul Ranger looking lost leads to Eric Cole's goal. 1-1. Nazem Kadri continues to be a boss and tips in Cody Franson's attempt on net. 2-1 Leafs. Horcoff scores? LOL no. High stick. 2-1. Horcoff scores? Damn it that one counts. 2-2. Overtime.
The Leafs were outshot 17-7 in the third period. If I may offer my very professional opinion, that's barf-worthy. What's amazing is that the Leafs were WORSE in overtime. Dallas outshot Toronto 6-2 in the extra frame. SIX SHOTS AND THEY DIDN'T EVEN FINISH THE FREAKING OVERTIME. That's amazing.
Check out the OT-winner, though. All four Leafs skaters are looking good. Dion Phaneuf send it to Jake Gardiner, Gardiner sends it to Trevor Smith and Smith sends it to the back of the net. All the while, David Clarkson is mucking things up in front of Lehtonen and drawing the attention of two Dallas Stars. By the time Cody Eakin figures out Trevor Smith is open, it's too late.
WHY THE LEAFS WON
It's extremely difficult to not give this one to Bernier, but I'm going to split it between two players. The first Blue Warrior is very obviously Jonathan Bernier. The second is Nazem Kadri, but it's not just because he scored two goals.
Nazem missed the Leafs' last game against the San Jose Sharks due to the passing of his grandfather. Kadri was very close with his grandfather, and his suffering was said to have been weighing heavily on Nazem's mind. Anyone who has ever experienced loss can appreciate what Kadri did in this game so soon after his grandfather's passing. When my Nona passed away, I didn't want to make a YouTube video for over a week. I can only imagine how difficult it is to get yourself amped up to bang and crash into flying 215 pound men on skates while you're grieving.
The elation on Kadri's face after this goal was a great moment.
- Jonathan Bernier faced 50 shots. I know I already said that, I just want it to sink in.
- Jerry D'Amigo played his first NHL game! He had just eight shifts and played just 4:02 of ice time. Womp womp.
- Peter Holland only had 10 shifts and played 5:49, too. Here's the thing: Fans are quick to point out "Well, the Leafs are shorthanded due to injuries." WRONG. Sure, the Leafs are shorthanded because of injuries, BUT ALSO because their coach is hell-bent on only rolling three lines. There was this big fuss about D'Amigo being called-up to help right the Leafs' penalty kill. Guess what? Not one second on the PK for D'Amigo and the Stars scored the goal that sent the game to overtime on the powerplay. Figure it out, bawd.
- Nazem Kadri looks pretty good on the top line, eh?