Post Game Report brought to you by Rami Boraie. (will change author shortly)
There was a feeling in the air all day leading up to 7pm. The Leafs would be playing their longtime rivals the Montreal Canadiens and if we are honest with ourselves these games haven’t mattered in a longtime. There was a buzz as the puck dropped and both teams were trading chances. Very early on the Leafs were put on the power play and while they set up and had some good looks nothing really came on it. Both teams were giving their all. Plekanec’s line would have a good shift and then Matthews line would respond.
Gardiner would get a hooking call sending the Habs on a PP. The Leafs PK wouldn’t even let them set up. so those were 2 mins killed off the clock.
Andersen was under fire for his goaltending the last while, however after the game against the Rangers, it seemed he was regaining his confident. Tonight, while squaring against Carey Price, Andersen didn’t look weaker. For every chance Price would save, Andersen would make an equally clutch save. In fact, it would be Price who blinks first, letting a bouncing shot from Auston Matthews to tuck in between his legs. At no point did anyone think that the game would end 1-0. The period would continue to be a goaltending duel with Freddy turning away a Pacioretty shot that was destined to go in and was redirected to the post.
The second period was almost like a chess match. Both teams were going full tilt and when one team would be hemmed into their zone the other team would then retaliate. Early on the Habs would tie it while on the power play when a great feed from Galchenyuk would find an open Max Pacioretty would fires it off almost as fast as it lands on his stick. Andersen had no chance.
Both teams did not make this game easy for fans to watch. It was a constant nail biter and the period would close with Galchenyuk beating Kadri to get to a pass from Nesterov. As he shakes lose of Kadri he tucks the puck over the shoulder of a sprawling Andersen. It was heartbreaking but the Leafs would not go silently into the night. The rest of the 2nd would see a constant scramble in front of Price. If the 2nd was chess, the 3rd would be all out way.
The Leafs came out strong with Kadri’s line absolutely wearing down the defenders. As the Leafs change lines Matthews line emerges. Hyman would find Matthews who would get his 30th of the year. 30 goals for a rookie, unreal. The first quarter of the period were the Leafs just setting up camp in the Habs end. The period after that would be constant exchange of quality efforts. The refs seemed to not remember what a penalty is. Clear penalties on Kadri and Komarov would not be called while Nylander would be called for a garbage slashing call. No goals would come the rest of the way and we’re off to OT.
As the puck drops in OT one question was on the mind of everyone, why is Komarov out there? Luckily it wouldn’t be for long. The Leafs had some great looks especially a shot from Gardiner and when Matthews received a stretch pass to go in alone but Price was Price. OT would end with Plekanec feeding Andrew Shaw who encounters Andersen who skates way out of his net. Shaw, does a quick little deke and gets it behind Andersen. Why Andersen was that far out? Why he chose to take a risk like that? No one knows. The only thing that is for sure is for the second game in a row the Leafs walk away with only 1 point. The Leafs sit 3rd but they are within reach. With a West coast swing on the horizon, the extra point would have been well received, but alas it would not be. If there’s one thing to note, this was fantastic Saturday night hockey. On a night that commemorated the 40th anniversary of Slap Shot, this game would be a fitting tribute.