Sunday at 6 p.m. is certainly an odd time for a hockey game between the Leafs and the Senators, though it’s certainly excusable considering the circumstances that forced the game to be rescheduled. In the first matchup of the year between to Ontario teams, fans were treated to an entertaining, if sloppy, hockey game of two teams both playing two games in two days.
After giving up a goal by Mike Hoffman early in the first period, the Leafs appeared to settle down.The Leafs then found the back off the net with a weird tip off a Peter Holland shot that got stuck in the top of the net, for his second goal in as many games.
Ottawa regained the lead again on a Kyle Turris goal to take the lead in the first intermission, but it lasted just under four minutes in hockey time.
Not to be outdone in weirdness, Robin Lehner got fooled by a shot that hit his shoulder, went way up in the air, which JVR then went behind him and tucked into the net for his sixth of the year to tie the game at two.
Mark Stone gave the Senators their final lead of the night, before Josh Leivo found himself in a good spot to tie the game at 3.
Holland and Mike Santorelli combined for a nice shorthanded rush that culminated in the game winner.
Morgan Rielly then fired a shot on net which David Clarkson tipped in for the final goal of the night.
Puck possession wasn’t great for the Leafs, with shot attempts at 52-33 (via war-on-ice.com) in favour of Ottawa at even strength. However, it’s always better to come out with a win than a loss, as the Leafs made the most of their opportunities to earn their second win in as many nights. Don’t look now, but the Leafs are currently tied with the Bruins at 18 points in 15 games, good enough for a wild card spot in the current standings. Seriously, don’t look. There’s 67 games left in the year, which is quite a bit of time. 67. 67. 67.
Josh Leivo. As a guy who’s playing in just his second game of the year, contributing a goal in a key situation during limited playing time is always a positive. While he had just three shifts past the first period (only 12 seconds of ice time in the third!!!), Leivo posted a 50% CF at 5 on 5. While not the biggest impact on the game, it’s good to see some secondary scoring from a guy who’s not likely to be a Leafs regular this season.
- Early goals against continue to be a problem for the Leafs, for whatever reason. Perhaps it’s just bad luck, but it’s time for the coaching staff to analyze what’s going wrong to start off the game.
- David Clarkson continues to appear in a good spot in front of the net, tipping in a Morgan Rielly for his fourth goal of the year.
- James Reimer’s record in Ottawa improved to 8-0-1. While perhaps there weren’t many highlight reel saves, Reimer made 38 of them on 41 shots, for a .927 save percentage. Even on a night when it felt like Toronto didn’t have to rely on their goaltending, even an average performance from Reimer could’ve been a much different story.
- Leo Komarov just keeps getting points, officially surpassing his total from his rookie half-season of nine points with an assist on Peter Holland’s goal. He also sits second in the league in hits, with 63.
- Ottawa-born Trevor Smith had his first assist of the year.
- Toronto blocked 17 shots on the night. That’s both impressive and alarming at the same time.