You’d have thought that the New Jersey Devils would have been ripe for the taking, considering they headed into tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs having lost five straight games. But the Leafs, who’ve been playing pretty good hockey for two weeks now, came out flat and never really seemed to find a groove.
The Devils scored early and often on route to a 5-3 victory, handing the Leafs their ninth loss of the season.
The Leafs often like to give up goals in the first five seconds of the game, but they were cool about it tonight and waited until five minutes into the game before Eric Gelinas sent a powerplay point shot past Jonathan Bernier. The period would end with the Devils up 1-0.
It was in the second period that things would open up, as Toronto and New Jersey traded began trading goals back and forth. Mike Santorelli would tie the game up on a nice deflection in front, before Stephen Gionta would put the Devils ahead again by a score of 2-1.
Then, my favourite part of the game. Nazem Kadri would tie the game at 2’s shorthanded. No, really. I don’t know who messed up on the bench but somehow Nazem “PP QB” Kadri found his way on to the ice while down a man, and scored a goal. Watch it in all its glory below:
Even Pete DeBoer doesn’t know what the hell just happened.
Alas, we can’t have nice things, like a 2-2 tie.
Mike Cammalleri would put the Devils up 3-2 before the end of the second, and both Steve Bernier and Adam Henrique would add their own tallies in the third to seal the deal.
To keep things a little interesting, Phil Kessel would score a late goal to make it 5-3, fall, bounce his head off the ice, and yell at the Devils’ bench before the night was over. That’s some pretty good compete, right there.
After the game…
Carlyle: “Plain and simple I thought we got outworked tonight.”
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) December 5, 2014
Haha, yeah you did, bud.
I’m pretty sure you’ve got to give it to Mike Santorelli, who continues to be excellent for the Leafs. As seen above, Santorelli opened the scoring for Toronto and later assisted on Kadri’s shorthanded goal (I’m still having fun saying that). Santorelli now has 18 points in 25 games so far this season while averaging only 13:35 minutes per game, and he leads the team with a +13 (which is a flawed stat, but impressive nonetheless).
That’s pretty good for $1.5M a season, in my humble opinion. I think the Leafs should resign him.
See You Saturday
The Leafs continue their homestand on Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks, who shutout the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight by a score of 3-0. Oh joy. Talk to you then!