For reasons well known to everyone, it is really hard to get excited / think about hockey right now. We should be gearing up for rookie tournaments, training camp and exhibition games over the next couple weeks to get us pumped up for the regular season. Unfortunately it seems as though none of these events are going to start on time or happen at all. So, we are all going to have to get used to this hockey rut we`re all in.
I have something that may help.
On a rare Monday night game, coming off an even rarer shootout win against the eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins (that has to be some kind of mistake), the Leafs were in Washington to face the eventual regular season Eastern Conference winner Capitals.
The first period started about as well as any Leaf fan could expect it to with Jonas Gustavsson in net and Mike Komisarek in a Leafs uniform: down 1-0 after less then three minutes.
Fortunately, for Leafs fans, Clarke MacArthur would begin a night that led to him being a personal favorite at the 11:47 mark of the first period.
I’m not going to bore you to tears with the Capitals other three goals of the game but fast forward you to a 4-1 deficit, 4:16 into the third period. (Ed note: We won’t skip every goal. This Alexander Ovechkin wrist shot was a thing of beauty)
Here Kulemin reminds us how good of a player he really is with a hell of a battle for the puck along the boards.
With time winding down, and many of us on our sixth or seventh beer, we realize that this game is lost. With 2:27 left in the third period and a two goal deficit to overcome.
This Leafs team? Not a chance.
That’s until Kadri feeds a nifty pass to Tomas Kaberle, who fires it on net (I thought he didn’t take shots), and this happens.
I remember watching this game vividly. It was so exciting to see this Leafs squad (who were mostly lifeless in their other games) come back and make a game out of something that most of us had already turned off.
For some odd reason the Leafs really wanted this win. With how they had lost nearly every other game for a month before it, no one really knows why.
There they were: one goal down with 1:28 left in the third period and the Washington Capitals on their heels Clarke MacArthur scores one of the most exciting goals in recent Leafs memory.
When Clarke MacArthur dropped to his knees after that goal he became an instant favorite of mine (beating the crap out of Chad LaRose a couple months later didn’t hurt either). It also sent the Leafs to overtime where they eventually won in a shootout on this goal by Grabovski:
Hockey is a funny sport. It’s absolutely mind boggling that a garbage team like the Leafs can take it to the eventual Eastern Conference winners over a 60 minutes. But there we were, the Leafs ended up giving Boston the 9th overall pick in that season’s draft with the Capitals heading to the playoffs with home ice advantage.
Anyways, after successfully killing your bandwidth you should be getting pretty excited for hockey to start. Too bad for you, there will be no hockey.
I guess you’ll have to wait for my next Back to the Future game recap!