Look, the Blackhawks are not as bad as everyone kept saying they were going to be. But they also couldn’t hold a lead in the third period, and now the Leafs are 3-0. Draw your own conclusions. (We’re just here to help you draw those conclusions.)
Getting through the first period only to have a score of 2-0 Chicago was not a fun ride, as the Leafs suffered two really awful bounces. The ‘Hawks probably did outplay them overall this period, but that just makes the comeback even better.
Rutta goal pic.twitter.com/g7oMf6OufR
— steph (@myregularface) October 9, 2017
First, Jan Rutta’s second NHL goal wasn’t even off his stick. It was off Mitch Marner’s, who was doing his darndest to keep the puck out. But sometimes the bounce screws you, and if his stick didn’t already, Marner’s face told us he has now learned that lesson the hard way.
Toews goal pic.twitter.com/ZIsF8piiJ6
— steph (@myregularface) October 9, 2017
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, let’s add insult to injury: Andersen lost his stick while the Blackhawks were all up in the Leafs’ zone, and a bad bounce on the rebound went straight to Jonathan Toews. He is clearly having a better season than last year, when his first goal didn’t come until November, but this was still a lucky one.
Finally, about 30 minutes, in, the Leafs were able to break through. Connor Brown and Calle Rosen both got their first points of the season with assists on Nikita Zaitsev’s tally, and hope was restored.
Panik goal pic.twitter.com/0qPD0OoVr9
— steph (@myregularface) October 10, 2017
Hope was lost again when Borgman put Chicago on the power play and Richard Panik was credited with the 3-1 goal. Was it worth it, Andreas? Was it worth hitting a guy half your size and watching the other team score from the box?
Thank god for Connor Brown, who is being severely under-utilized on the fourth line, but still reminding us how great it is that he’s a Leaf. With helpers from Zaitsev and Hainsey, Brownie saved the entire franchise and restored hope in this generation of Toronto Maple Leafs. Or at least he got the Leafs back within one in the third game of 2017-18. Interpret that how you will.
It was James van Riemsdyk on the power play who tied things up with under five minutes left in regulation, technically. Tyler Bozak took the shot, and it almost looked like he banked it off his teammate on purpose. Either way, the puck went in, and the game went to overtime. This was the first overtime for both the Leafs and the Blackhawks, almost a whole week into the season.
End of Regulation
After getting outshot 9-7 in the first period (not bad), the Leafs absolutely hammered Anton Forsberg, tallying 19 and 14 shots in the final two periods, to Chicago’s six in each. I give Forsberg a lot of credit here, as only giving up four goals on 43 shots is not too shabby for a backup’s season debut. Especially with some of the shots we saw from the Leafs. William Nylander was itching for a goal tonight, even though he didn’t quite get there. Forsberg’s first big save was on Eric Fehr from the doorstep, too, which earned some praise on the broadcast. He played a solid game, faced with the onslaught of offence the Leafs have been so good at.
Speaking of which, the Leafs dominated overtime, too. I don’t even remember seeing the puck on Frederik Andersen’s end of the ice. For all the defensive failings the Leafs can occasionally be found guilty of, they were really able to put the hurt on Chicago in the last 24 minutes of this game. Through the final period of regulation and most of the allotted overtime, the Leafs were absolutely dominating, and if it wasn’t for the fluky goals awarded to the Blackhawks from sheer luck, this would have been an easy regulation win.
But did you want to watch Auston Matthews’ beauty of an OT winner again? Good. So did I.
Game. Set. Match.
For my 3 followers who care, I'm sorry for not posting yesterday but here's last night's game report. The top line ??????? pic.twitter.com/wsumsMZVZJ
— Evan Presement (@e_presement) October 10, 2017