Leafs Postgame: Leafs WIN!!!!

An elimination game, in Toronto, on this Monday night. That was the scene.

With the series on the line, the Leafs needed to put everything they had into this game.

Could they do it?

Let’s track how it went.

1st period

The first period seemed to fly by, no goals were scored by either team, but the pace was lightning-fast.

Bruins were dominating near the end of the period, with faceoff after faceoff in the Leafs’ defensive zone, but Toronto would hold strong and head into the second with the game tied 0-0.

2nd period

The Bruins got on the board first, with what seemed to be an all-important first goal. A shot from DeBrusk seems to heat-seek its way into the net through a crowd, giving Boston the 1-0 lead:

But Toronto would immediately crush those hopes, as they scored just 35 seconds later. William Nylander buried the chance from a great shot-for-tip by Nikita Zaitsev and the game became 1-1.

As the momentum began to turn in the Leafs favour, the chances began to increase and the Leafs truly looked in control for the first time in the game. This Zach Hyman net drive was called back for goalie interference, but the Leafs’ pressure was noticeable at this point.

Later, Mitch Marner found a puck in front of the net and fired the backhander past Rask to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead in the latter half of the 2nd:

The second period would end like that: 2-1 Leafs.

3rd period

Nails were bitten, beers were nervously drank, chances flew back and forth. The third period was a ball of stress.  Or maybe I was a ball of stress watching it – I’m not sure which.

Some questionable refereeing only added to the stress. Check out this play from David Backes, catching Andersen with a (potentially incidental) elbow to the face.

Incidental or not, that should still be a penalty. In fact, it appeared the referee had his arm up to call this a penalty. But then, Roman Polak shows off his manliness in the corner a few seconds later…

The play would go to 4-on-4 as Backes and Polak both get sent off for roughing, right? But wait, watch this other angle:

You can clearly see the ref standing beside Andersen calling an elbowing penalty. But then, the scuffle ensues, and here are the penalty calls:

Backes – Roughing. Polak – Roughing. Suddenly, the elbowing penalty magically disappeared. Weird how that happens.

Anyway, the Leafs didn’t let this affect them, as they carried the 1 goal lead into the late minutes of the 3rd. This forced the Bruins to pull their goalie, and the Leafs capitalized:

The Leafs beat the Bruins 3-1 in Game 6 of this Eastern Conference Quarter Final series of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That felt really good to write.

Final Thoughts

The disappearing elbowing penalty was certainly not the only botched refereeing in this game. And it was botched for both teams. Playoff refereeing has become an inconsistent joke. How can the players be expected to play within the rules if the refs are making the rules up as they go?

Similar to other games, this one was a game where the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line dominated whatever Leafs they faced, while the rest of the Leafs dominated the rest of the Bruins. Andersen came up gigantic whenever the defense allowed a breakdown against that elite trio, though, and that was key to the victory.

My three stars for tonight:

  1. Frederik Andersen
  2. Mitch Marner
  3. Tuukka Rask

Tune in Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time for the series-deciding Game 7, in Boston. GO LEAFS GO!

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  • ncdm44

    Oh man what a game, great way to send it to Boston… one thing i thought was the biggest thing in the third was that PK on the fluke puck over the glass. Brown was an absolute beast on that kill, gave him the 3rd start just for that kill.

  • Bob Canuck

    Well that was a nerve-racking, fun game.

    I found it interesting that there were a number of similarities between Games 4 and 6.

    Beyond the identical score (3 to 1), the possession and share of scoring chances data clearly favoured the losing team (5v5 play, score and venue adjusted). Also, the winning team won the goaltending duel. One difference was that the Leafs in both Game 4 and Game 6 had the majority of high danger scoring chances (5v5 play).

    Freddie was outstanding but the Leafs also benefited from strong play by Matthews, Nylander, Brown, Gardiner, and Zaitsev.

    I am looking forward to a nerve-racking and fun Game 7.

  • Glen

    Good character win by the Leafs now I can see why the picked up Plek, seems to bother the Bergeron line. Lots to like about that. Another example on the limited value of corsi. GLG