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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

St. Pats Postgame: Hartbreaker

As the Leafs took to the ice tonight in their green, Toronto St. Pats jerseys, the storied history of the franchise bubbled to the surface in this original six matchup.

Though an overtime loss was not necessarily ideal for the Leafs tonight, the team remains in a playoff spot after nabbing only 1 point in the game.  Losses from the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders today provided the Leafs with another chance to remain in the playoff race.

RECAP

The Leafs nabbed the first goal of the game tonight, as Auston Matthews broke his 7-game scoreless streak off of a nice pass from William Nylander to open up the first period.  His 32nd of the year put the Leafs ahead by one, and broke a few records, too:

After the goal, Matthews saw a little love from Nylander:

So cute.

Chicago scored their first goal of the game midway through the second, as rookie John Hayden scored his first career NHL goal, because, of course.

The Blackhawks dominated through most of the third period, tallying the majority of shots and creating several high-quality chances.  The game remained scoreless through the third.

The Leafs defence pairs were altered near the end of the game, as Morgan Rielly took to the ice with Roman Polak against the Toews line. The Leafs were also badly outshot through the 3rd period, shots tallying 39-25 for Chicago by the end of the game.

This game couldn’t be decided in regulation, and off to OT we went.  JvR took off on a breakaway with just 2 minutes left in overtime, but couldn’t bury the puck as Crawford was in solid position to make the save.

Chicago dominated through the majority of 4th period, but both teams had several high-quality chances.  Ryan Hartman ended the game with 17 seconds left in overtime, and the Leafs fell to the Blackhawks by a score of 2-1.

THE STATS

Toronto dominated in shot attempts in the first period, while the Hawks overtook and fought back in the second.  Both teams competed hard in the third and in OT.

Many of Toronto’s shot attempts came from in and around the net, zeroing in on Corey Crawford, who had a fantastic game for Chicago.

The Leafs avoided the worst possible outcome tonight, that being a regulation loss and a Tampa Bay win.  The Leafs are safe in their playoff spot for now, as they currently sit 1 point ahead of Islanders and 2 ahead of the Lightning.

GOLDEN WARRIOR

The golden warrior of tonight’s game goes to Auston Matthews, who broke his 7-game scoreless drought tonight on Toronto’s only goal of the game.  A special shoutout goes to Frederick Anderson, who made 38 saves on 39 shots .

UP NEXT

The Leafs will take on the Boston Bruins this Monday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.  The game will be broadcasted on TSN4, with a 7:30pm EST start time.

  • I am Ted

    Always hate the Leaves and it’s nice to see them lose. They have been, mostly, irrelevant for decades. It does look like they’ll have some nice pieces to make them competitive but I still hope they lose. Either way, it doesn’t matter as they saturate the market regardless of success.

  • FlareKnight

    It’s unfortunate, but such is. Andersen played well and is a key reason we got a point. Heck the defense cleared some dangerous chances to help get that point as well. And it was good for Matthews to get a goal and break that pointless streak. If that can trigger him getting hot at this point in the season….good timing.

    Really it was just that we couldn’t score. Chicago’s defense is tough to break through and there weren’t a ton of chances. Really wanted those two points, but will take what we can get.

  • Stan Smith

    One thing I have noticed lately is the Leafs defensive play is getting better at a crucial time of the year. If you remove the Florida game, in their past 8 games they have only allowed 8 goals, 7 in regulation.

    Another crucial game coming up Monday night.

  • Glen

    The Leafs hung in and generated a point which is good. They got the point mainly because of Andersons great game. Freddy may be up and down but the guy has come through in spades the last six games when it matters, with the exception of Florida. Nylander is a great play maker and belongs with Matthews. The Leafs would do well to keep Polak if they can get him at a reasonable price as he is the only D with any grit, just a good honest soldier. On to the Bruins looking for the sweep.

    • Stan Smith

      I think Marchenko shows a bit of Grit as well. There are imprtant things that defensive dmen do that go unoticed. On the Matthews goal Marchenko pinned an opposing puck carrier to to the boards and kept him there long enough for Hyman to retrieve the puck, and away they went.

  • MartinPolak

    The leafs were lucky to get a point tonight. We definitely saw the skill of Matthews and Nylander tonight, though there is a wide swamp to traverse before we can be competitive with the Hawks. I look forward to the Bruins game as another benchmark test the leafs.

  • lukewarmwater

    Exactly right bro, as the team has 9 out of a possible 12 points in the last six games. I still think Babcock knowing that Andersen can’t stop a beach ball in a shoot out should have been thinking total offence in the three on three o.t. But nope to start the o.t. there is uncle Leo and Kadri to check Toews and his superstar buddy. Why not simply throw Matthews and Marner out there to match them. If they goof up defensively fine, but I sure like the idea of Marner carrying that puck over the line and making one of his classic passes to Matthews who had a great game.
    Great to see that both the Islanders and Tampa lost tonight. Monday the leafs have an opportunity to make it 4 straight against the Bruins who have really been playing over their heads. The leafs are 3 behind the Bruins with a game in hand so that up coming game is huge.
    Seeing we have last change I would have Kadri out there when the rat is on the ice. Marchand is having an amazing season but Kadri should be all over him like a blanket, matching hit for hit, slash for slash, trip for trip. In other words be a bigger rat than Marchand who has a PhD in being a super pest.
    Speaking of Boston one of the better movies produced in the last decade was the Departed starring Jack Nicholson as a crime boss in Boston. There is this classic scene where Jack is talking to some of his captains that he felt there was a rat in the gang. He proceeded to squeeze up his face and looked amazingly like a rat or as an impersonation of Marchand.
    Keep it going leafs and kick the butt of Boston for the fourth time this season on Monday.