It all seemed magical as the seconds ticked away. Tank be damned, you want the Toronto Maple Leafs to play their hearts out, and occasionally get rewarded for it. Tonight, it looked like they would, and that they were deserving of the pity points. The tank gods had a different opinion, though, as they brought they brought the game to a nuclear end and created a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers.
The Leafs looked good again tonight. They really did. Right from the get-go, they fired from all cylinders. Five minutes in, it turned into a shocking lead:
The goal gave Viktor Loov his first NHL point just three minutes into his NHL career, and gave the Leafs a lead that lasted through the entire period. It wasn’t one that they’d hold onto forever, though, as Derick Brassard took advantage of a Nick Spaling double minor in the early stages of the second, and Mats Zuccarello snuck under a few Leafs a few minutes after that to bang home a go-ahead rebound for the opposition.
The Leafs kept pressing, as they always do, and with two minutes left in the third period, Colin Greening made the most of his redemption opportunity to pot his first of the season. Surely, the game was soon to head to overtime, but less than a minute later, JT Miller stripped Morgan Rielly of the puck in front of the Leafs net, eventually leading to Derek Stepan scoring the game winner. Brassard scored his second of the night as a game-capping empty netter in the dying seconds.
Why The Leafs Lost
This might be the single worst play of Morgan Rielly’s career. The Leafs were surely headed to overtime after outplaying a quality team by a significant margin, and he blew it with this giveaway.
This is why he’s the next captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s a clutch tanker.
I don’t think there’s a more “clutch” person alive right now than The Leafs Nation’s managing editor, Justin Fisher. Our handsome overlord look a chance on the Rangers winning by two, looked stupid for most of the game, and got a miracle pair handed to him in the last seconds.
I think he owes the team a round. That round will be tap water, of course, as he is not a high stakes gambler, but he’s not a losing one either.
See You Next Time
With that mess behind them, the Leafs have another opportunity to lose on Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Puck drop is at 7 PM, just a few hours after the Toronto Marlies play on the same Air Canada Centre ice! The kids are probably more likely to win, I’d bet.