Latest posts by Omar White (see all)
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The playoff winds are blowing! Leafs win 3-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime. Leafs are back in the wild card spot, and will stay there if certain events occur (St. Louis…get the job done please). Leafs are officially on a winning streak as they have won three in a row. Despite having a game similar to the Philadelphia one, the team was able to avoid their most frustrating opponent of the season, the shootout. The Leafs now head down to Florida for two equally important games against the Panthers and the Lightning. This is what it’s all about, this is what management wanted the team to be doing at the end of the season. So buckle up Leafs fans, the playoff ride continues.
The veterans came to play again this game. Unfortunately, it was the fourth line…again. For the last stretch of games, it has been the Boyle line that keeps the spark alive when the Leafs were slow. Things got interesting when the temperature started to increase. The Bozak line sustains pressure after Rask makes it 1-0. Bozak makes a pretty backhand pass to Marner who sends it past Ward for his 17th of the season and second in as many games. Fast forward to the second period. Lindholm pulls a Ben Smith and wins the face-off but loses it at the same time. JVR picks up the puck and enters the zone. He loses the puck momentarily but it seems to bounce back to him off of Faulk right in the slot, the best place to be for a goal scorer. Shot and goal, we have a 2-2 tie.
Leafs fell victim to another slow start. They didn’t get their first shot until 6 minutes into the first period and relied on Andersen to keep the game even. Auston Matthews, although being a god, hasn’t looked as dominant these past two games. The first Carolina goals has Victor Rask enter the zone, get past Matthews at the blue line and make his best William Nylander impression. After getting into the zone, Rask fires a shot from the circles short side that goes over the shoulder of Andersen. The shot may have gone off Rielly but the Leafs start down in the game.
The second period is also reminiscent of the Flyer’s game. Remember when Ghostisbehere shot from the point and it was tipped by a Leafs killer on the power play? Happened in tonights game too, except it was a Teravainen shot tipped by a Staal. Not Eric Staal, he’s on Minnesota. It was younger brother Jordan of course because someone on Carolina has to claim the role. Again, the front of the net is not managed properly and an opposing player is able to work his stick for a deflection. Another unlucky set of events for Rielly who was on the ice for both goals.
Speaking of Rielly and goals. “I’m a big believer that if you do good things, good things happen”. Words that we’ve heard Babcock say all season. Rielly gets the game winner for the Leafs in overtime that he desperately needed. The unit of Matthews, Nylander, and Rielly were able to sustain pressure in the Carolina zone. Rielly skates with the puck behind the net, stops, skates out into the high slot and sends the puck on net. A goal that Ward would want back however, the puck goes in. Rielly gets the first shot of the game when the Leafs started slow and conveniently gets the last of the game getting the team the win. That goal brings every Leafs fan back to the Rielly we used to know. If there was ever a goal that could return someone to form, Rielly definitely hopes that this was it.