Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Leafs Postgame: The Real McJesus

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Edmonton Oilers 1-0 tonight, and their one goal wasn’t scored by Kris Russell.

Baby steps, Edmonton. Baby steps.

With Auston Matthews sitting this one out due to an upper-body injury, and coming in on the second half of a back-to-back, the odds were stacked against The Buds in this one.

But, no one could have anticipated the McElhaissance.

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Yes, the star of the show tonight was none other than embattled Leafs backup Curtis McElhinney. I have no idea who replaced him with an in-his-prime Dominic Hasek, and frankly I don’t care, because he stopped all 41 shots The Oilers threw at him. It was a magical sight, like something out of a fairy tale.

We never doubted you for a second, Curtis.


Chart powered by Corsica.hockey

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As you can see, Edmonton completely dominated the possession game after the first period. They generated a monstrous amount of chances, with nothing but “Future Vezina Winner Curtis McElhinney” standing in between them and victory.

Alas, if only they knew. You cannot simply beat Curtis McElhinney. You can only die trying.

First Period

This game started in the most “Oilers” fashion possible.

34 seconds in, Jake Gardiner launched a point shot at goaltender Laurent Brossoit, or as Jim Hughson likes to say, Laurent Croissant and everything seemed routine.

Except, Brossoit didn’t hang on properly, and Zach Hyman was there to bang the rolling puck in.

It was truly hilarious.

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William Nylander tallied an assist on the goal, which is pretty standard. It’s almost like if you give him actual linemates, he’ll start to produce. Who could have predicted that?!

Also, McElhinney poke checked McDavid out of his scraggly little beard on a breakaway. That was cool too.

Second Period

This period was decidedly less good for the Leafs than the first one was.

Remind me, but Roman Polak was re-signed specifically to play on the penalty kill, right? So, is it good that he takes a ton of stupid penalties on his own, thus rendering him useless?

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Regardless, Polak was at it again, bringing Mitch Marner with him, and gifted Edmonton a full two-minute 5-on-3 power play.

That’s where McElhinney stepped in.

Curtis made about three highlight-reel stops right in front of the net, working his blocker like the netminders of old, and in turn successfully killing off the entire advantage. It was like watching a unicorn in real life. I honestly don’t think we’ll ever see anything like it ever again.

Following suit, later in the period, history was made.

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Do we give McElhinney the Vezina now? Or do we wait until the season’s over?

Third Period

This period was, as the kids say, lit.

The Oilers threw everything they had at the Leafs net, while The Buds whiffed on a few golden chances themselves.

I truly felt bad for Connor McDavid in this one. He set his teammates up with some Grade-A chances and they always failed to convert. Maybe just don’t pass anymore, Connor?

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Or, come and play for your hometown team. I promise we can finish.

Anyway, The Leafs BARELY held on, preserving the shutout and earning a crucial win in the process. Tonight’s win brings their record up to a sterling 20-10-1 on the season.

Can someone in the advanced stats community tell me if reaching 20 wins by December 10th is good? Thanks.

Good Tweets

Look, I’m just going to ignore the Mark Spector twitter drama here. It’s pretty much like shooting fish in a barrel at this point. Let’s just all laugh at Edmonton instead!

Never in doubt.

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Chemmy’s got a point.

I doubt that, Curtis.

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And this one made me hungry.

The Leafs embark on a brutal stretch consisting of three games in four nights this week, and they may have to do it sans-Matthews. With that said, securing the two points tonight was crucial, and they pulled it off.

Prayers up to the REAL McJesus.


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  • lukewarmwater

    Curtis pulling off a classic Johnny Bower poke check. Runs his record to 3 & 2 as the leafs are now 12 and 0 when leading after 2 periods. Obviously the lads have totally learned how to protect the lead compared to last year.
    Amazing skating by McDavid but I’m sorry sea gulling when you are a man short speaks volumes. He must have seen Wayner and thought I’ve studied number 99’s games and man he would sea gull all night.
    Fortunately for the leafs most of Connor’s teammates truly have hands of stone. A lot of clanging of posts and cross bars tonight but that went both ways.
    The leafs beat the deteriorating Penguins and an Edmonton team that really thought they were about to be the Oilers of the mid 1980’s , nope same Oilers of the past several years. Yesiree definitely in the running for the number one draft pick. Now where have I heard that tune before.
    Some myths destroyed. Leafs wouldn’t be able to win with out Awesome Auston Moses Mathews, 5 & 0 without our leader in the line up. Leafs only have steady Freddy. Hello CURTIS.
    Mike another solid article and what a Weekend, yeah even as a senior citizen I’m into his music. But on the sporting front , Toronto F.C. wins the M.L.S. championship, The Raptors win at the heart break hotel in Memphis and defeat the time keepers, crooked hoops, crooked refs in bankrupt Cali’s capital. Plus the amazing, ever improving, entertaining, exciting leafs pick up 4 more big points as they simply pull away from Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
    It truly is great to be a Toronto sports fan these days. Go Leafs Go.