Leafs Post-Game: Hilarity in Florida

The Leafs are fresh off a trade deadline season where they unloaded every player they could.  The team comfortably sits somewhere in the range of finishing 4th to 6th-last in the NHL.  It’s a cold March night and the Leafs are playing the Florida Panthers.  Why were you watching this game?  Why was I watching this game?  Who knows.  But in about as boring a circumstance as you could create, Toronto loyalists who tuned into this game had their faith rewarded.  Tonight in the home rink of the Panthers, hilarity ensued.

THE RUNDOWN

I’ll spare you the mundane details of this game.  There was only one real story tonight, and that’s all you need to know.  Here’ what went down:

  • Late in the first period, Roberto Luongo made an awkward save on a Leo Komarov shot them left him smarting.  Luongo finished the period, but it was announced to begin the second period that he would not return.
  • Enter Al Montoya.  The Panthers back-up played pretty well in the second.  He let in a powerplay goal from Tyler Bozak, but was perfect aside from that.  All things considered Florida carried the play against Toronto and left the period up 2-1 with just 20 minutes separating them from a big 2 points.
  • In the third, things got really interesting.  Nazem Kadri muscled his way to the net right off the hop and was able to bang in the tying goal just 22 seconds in.  He crashed into Montoya on the play though, and suddenly all hell broke loose.
  • There were a couple delays early on in the period.  Would Montoya have to leave the game?  With Luongo unable to return, would the Panthers actually have to turn to an emergency netminder?  Who would that be?  Before you knew it, Scottie Upshall and Derek Mackenzie were heading to the locker room looking at the possibility of putting on the pads.  Or might it be former NHL journeyman and current Panthers goalie coach Rob Tallas?  Could Luongo return?  He showed up suddenly at the bench in dress clothes and started to talk with Panthers coach Gerrard Gallant and Panthers GM Dale Tallon.
  • As it turns out, Montoya would be able to return.  He was laboring hard though, and it didn’t take long for the Leafs to take advantage.  Peter Holland banged in a weak rebound to give the Leafs the lead, and it looked like just about anything might beat Montoya at this point.  Enter Rob Tallas, who showed up in full equipment on the Panthers bench.  It looked like he might need to come in.  Still though, Montoya journeyed on.
  • But wait, there’s more!  Suffering through half a period of confusion and fatigue, Al Montoya’s duties were relieved.  Roberto Luongo of all people came out of nowhere to man the pipes for the Panthers.  Luongo didn’t look totally fresh, but certainly looked to be in less distress than the battered Montoya.  In an absolutely bizarre set of circumstances, Luongo would finish the game and the score would remain in tact.  Final score: Leafs 3, Panthers 2.

I’m a supporter of tank nation, but if you’re gonna win a game you may as well make it entertaining.  This one sure was.  I don’t think I’m alone in saying I was hoping Tallas, or maybe even Mackenzie or Upshall would jump in to play goal for Florida.  Still though, that was a pretty hilarious 20 minutes or so.  It was a funny moment in a dark time for the Leafs, and under the circumstances, it was a win well worth it.

BLUE WARRIOR

40 saves on 42 shots.  Goaltending was the theme tonight for not just the Panthers but the Maple Leafs as well.  Jonathan Bernier collects yet another Blue Warrior for Toronto this season.

NOTES

  • Okay, tank update: tonight’s Leafs win and Columbus loss means Toronto leapfrogs both the Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes to move from 4th to 6th-last.  it’s not all bad though – Columbus has a game in hand on Toronto and Carolina has two.  The Leafs still remain in contention for the 4th overall pick.
  • The biggest win of the night comes courtesy of the New Jersey Devils who beat Nashville 3-1.  Not only are the Devils now 7 points clear of Toronto, but the Predators have now lost 4 straight and are quickly losing their grip on the President’s Trophy.  This of course is good because Toronto owns the Preds’ 1st-rounder this June.
  • Joakim Lindstrom and Tim Erixon made their Leafs debuts tonight. 
    Lindstrom looked fine for what he is; Erixon did not look good.  Not much is expected out of either player so I’m not going to spend much time analyzing their game.  Hopefully at least Erixon, who is still just 24, can find a little bit of a groove though.

SEE YOU THURSDAY

The Leafs finish up their four-game road trip versus Tampa Bay two nights from now.  The Leafs will face the Lightning at 7:30PM Eastern on Sportsnet Ontario.

  • CMpuck

    only funny thing about this situation was the fact that the leafs barely beat florida with both of their goalies half dead. that’s how horrible they are. i’m very mad they went from the 4th overall to 6th overall pick in one night but thankfully, we’re facing the lightning and blues this week. hopefully columbus and hurricanes can win some games/get some points.

    • CMpuck

      they’re not referring to the players getting hurt as hilarious. they’re referring to the crazy situation that ensued because of their injury (41 year old goalie coach, upshall/mckenzie suiting up & the leafs almost losing wih 2 hurt goalies). it’s pretty obvious that no one here is laughing about people getting seriously hurt.

  • TGT23

    Wow just a huge win for the buds. We moved from 4th to 6th but with elderly fathers like Cliff Fletcher guiding our genius General manager the leafs will probably give up 2 draft picks to mover from 6th to 4th and get a Luke Schenn type of pick.

    So happy to see Phil the Ex Thrill Kessel sound of the media who are all responsible for the leaf problems. All you Kessel haters pointing out that Phil has just a few goals in the last third of the season, I say picky, picky, picky. Phil doesn’t care about Corsi , Fenwick and obviously the backers of Corsi and Fenwick don’t care about it as yoU NEVER, NEVER, NEVER CRITICIZE KESSEL’S ABHORENT STATS IN THE NOW CRUCIAL AREAS OF JUDGING A PLAYER.

    Yesirree why go for the first pick when you can get 6th.

      • TGT23

        It’s inflammatory, slanderous, and because it appeared on TSN it makes some people think that the tweet has truth to it, which tarnishes the reputation of all involved.

        They sort of had to sue, otherwise this kind of thing would continue to happen. Suddenly Sportsnet is reporting tweets as facts to drive ratings.

        TSN has to be held accountable. Just like anyone or anything else.

        Besides, **** the media.

          • TGT23

            If someone posted on twitter or facebook that your significant other had slept with one of your coworkers, and that twitter/facebook message was posted on TSN, and then went viral and began being reported as news… You’d probably be pissed, too.

            No room for empathy, apparently. They make a lot of money so they aren’t allowed emotion or the same legal rights anyone else has…

          • CMpuck

            My girlfriend and I would laugh it off #adulthood. Hell I’ve been that situation before, should I have cried to HR over rumors? These aren’t men on the Leafs.

            You want to talk empathy this lawsuit will ensure people lose their careers at TSN.

    • TGT23

      Are you illiterate?

      Honest question. Are you capable of reading words and processing what it is those words say and mean?

      All anyone who believes in the usefulness of analytic’s (which is way, way more people than the dinosaurs who wish those troubling numbers and hard to learn maths would just go away!) talk about is how Phil is a possession black hole and how his defense is awful, how his line constantly gets outshot and outscored, how he’s been slumping, etc. etc.

      Talk about revisionist history. Quit making things up. All people have been talking about ALL SEASON is that…

      But, Phil is also not entirely wrong. Dion didn’t build the team. Dion didn’t offer his contract, or Phil’s, or Clarkson’s. He didn’t buy out Grabo or Gleason. Did Dion retain salary on Gunner?

      Ever since Burke and Wilson the media has given TML management a pass. They act as if the players are at fault for the roster construction. They act as if Nonis had done everything he could and it’s their fault that the team lacks talent. You hear about Dion’s leadership and Kessel’s slumps… but where was the talk about Clarkson on the PP or Bozak-JVR-Kessel constantly being put back together?

      There is a LOT of blame to go around, but according to the media, it all goes to two people.

      • TGT23

        TG that is what I said it is all the media’s fault. Phil is justing having a teensy, weensy slump. I respect you are the number one fan boy in here. Obviously you are more clueless than I thought. Kessel’s possession play especially in his own zone is terrible. But somehow you refuse to use the new analytics on this selfish player who has QUIT ON THE TEAM. Take off those maple leaf glasses and freaking OBSERVE. Stay in here as you would be eaten alive in most intelligent blogs.

        • TGT23

          Dude… I literally just said “Phil is a possession black hole and how his defense is awful, how his line constantly gets outshot and outscored, how he’s been slumping, etc. etc.”

          I literally JUST said he is a terrible possession player. He is where possession goes to die. His line is where leads (or tie games) go to die. He gets outshot and outscored constantly… I JUST said that…

          I didn’t support Kessel’s play, I’ve been the most critical of it out of most here. The analytic community here has been shredding Kessel all year, so you saying we haven’t makes no sense… We have!

          Where I do agree with Phil is that media is unfairly focused on Phaneuf. They are placing 100% of the blame on him and Kessel when a lot of the problems aren’t their fault.

          Kessel’s struggles are his fault. Dion’s struggles are his fault. But their teammates and linemates/partner aren’t. Their PT isn’t their fault. How they are used is not their fault. The team and how it was built and the contracts bought out or signed are not their fault.

          But the media has been giving Nonis a pass for years…

          Which… YOU of all people should agree with. Nonis and the scouts have been awful but they’ve been given a pass. Phaneuf has shouldered far more blame and criticism than he deserves. Nonis has shouldered none in the media.

          • TGT23

            Dude you and I are not that far apart in our thinking. I know it scares you. But seriously hell I’ve been hammering Nonis and his idol Burkie for years. I was pillared for suggesting Burke would be a disaster in Toronto. I seem to be a lost soul out in the wilderness demanding that the leafs change their scouting staff considering their record over the past decade.

            We both want the leafs to win. On the social media account. That was totally unfair for the players and the players wife as T.S.N. should be sued. Lupul summed it up with his description of T.S.N. sinking to the level of an American sleaze show.