Post Game: Holiday Cheer! (AKA Kevin Hayes Holidays)


How’s your heart rate after that?

By some Christmas Miracle, the Leafs held off the Rangers’ third period barrage, with a little help from Kevin Hayes and with no thanks whatsoever to their own puck luck. It was an ugly, ugly 3-2 win by the time it was all said and done, but we’ll take it. The Leafs other than Tyler Bozak go into the Christmas break happy and excited for Santa to come.

This is a live look at me interacting with the Hockey Gods for the majority of that third period.

1st Period

The period started off fairly uneventfully. The first handful of minutes came and went without much to write home about for either team.

Things began to pick up about eight minutes in, however. The Big Three had several terrific chances in front of Henrik Lundqvist, with Mitch Marner getting the best of them and looking poised to have another dominant game. Hank stood tall, however.

Halfway through the period, this frame would turn into a circus. Roman Polak was his usual self and took a dumb boarding penalty that, with Ron Hainsey already in the box, put the Leafs down 5-on-3. However, the Leafs stood tall, and the Rangers eventually went on to take a penalty of their own.

After a back-and-forth circus of Penalties being drawn and taken with neither team surrendering a goal, the Leafs went into beast mode. I mean seriously terrifying-worldbeating-unstoppable beast mode. After maintaining possession for over a minute following an icing against the Rangers, my beautiful son William Nylander took a feed from Auston Matthews and opened the scoring:


That was Auston Matthews’ first point in the month of December, and Nylander’s second goal in three games. A true thing of beauty.

That’s all the first period would write, with the Leafs heading into the first intermission up 1-0.

2nd Period

The second period would start off with more good things coming for the Leafs. Wit Ryan McDonagh in the box to start the period, Ron Hainsey would wind up on the ice in the dying seconds of the period, and would blast home an absolute rocket:

2-0 good guys on Ron Hainsey’s 3rd of the season. Mitch Marner would also register a point on the goal, continuing his current dominant stretch.

Things would get a little ugly briefly after that. After a miscue by Jake Gardiner, who passed the puck to nobody in particular behind the net, Freddie Andersen would get caught and the Rangers would capitalize.

Ugh. 2-1.

All hope was not lost, however, as the Leafs kept up their strong play, and Auston Matthews did this:

That’s the type of content I’m here for. Auston Matthews gets his 14th of the season and second point of the night, and the Leafs are back up by 2.

The rest of the period was fairly uneventful. The Leafs had a dreadful attempt 5-on-3 with the Bozak unit spending the entirety of two-man advantage on the ice, with nothing giving.

In the last minute, however, there was this:

So uh… if the puck is in your pad, and your pad is in the net, the whole is probably the sum of its parts. Unless you’re in the NHL, in which case the parts add up to “inconclusive” and Nazem Kadri gets to continue his fake dry spell. Heinous call.

Still, the Leafs would enter the second intermission up 3-1 while controlling the majority of the play.

3rd Period

Things got, uh… interesting.

After a misplay and turnover by the Leafs, JT Miller cut the Leafs’ lead to one with his 7th goal of the season, going five-hole on Frederik Andersen. 3-2 good guys.

Less than a minute later, this happened:

I, for one, will personally see to Kevin Hayes’ stocking being aptly stuffed after this beautiful play. With the Ghost of Leafs Past (Michael Grabner) appearing to tie the game, Kevin Hayes ended up being the Leafs’ MVP on the night, saving the team from themselves.

That no-goal call was followed by several breakaways by the Leafs, who came oh-so-chose to extending their lead with a near goal by James van Riemsdyk and an infuriating miss by Tyler Bozak, who rung a shot on a wide-open net off the crossbar to keep it a one-goal game.

The Rangers would fight on for the remainder of the period, but a timely Leafs’ Power Play late in the frame would prove to stave off just enough pressure to eke out an ugly 3-2 win.

#GoodTweets From #GoodPros

I’m always here for Auston and Willie.

Probably hanging out with Mike Myers.

Ugly period, #nice stat.

Looking Ahead

The Leafs enjoy four days off before trekking out to Arizona, Colorado and Vegas to close out 2017. Which means you get to enjoy a four day breather too, and celebrate the Holidays knowing the Buds are All Day.

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  • lukewarmwater

    A nice Christmas gift as the leafs win in the big apple with Awesome Auston Moses Matthews looking splendid with the help of Nylander and Marner.
    Enjoy the break and Merry Christmas to one and all at the leafs nation.

  • Capt.Jay

    I thought the score could’ve been 5-2 had it not been for a fluke stick in the way or an amazing save by Lundqvist. Leafs played well, didn’t like that they sat back in the 3rd though.

    Go Leafs Go and Merry Christmas everyone