I’m sure many Torono Maple Leaf fans were having nasty reminders of their team's major collapse in the playoffs last season heading into Thursday’s game against the Boston Bruins.
Surprisingly, this game started in a similar pattern to that dreaded playoff game. The Leafs took the lead through goals from Paul Ranger, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk.
But thanks to a series of sloppy turnovers and perfectly-placed screen shots, Boston clawed their way back into the game.
This time it was Toronto that got the win, however, thanks to a stunning goal scored by Nazem Kadri in overtime.
This victory came with a price for the Leafs as Jonathan Bernier was forced to leave the game due to injury. The injury occurred late in the final period when defenceman Ranger pushed Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron on top of Bernier in the crease.
Backup goaltender James Reimer did just enough, stopping 10 of 11 shots to get his team the win.
This was a very lucky win for Toronto, in my opinion as hey just seemed to collapse when they had the two-goal lead. The forwards didn’t do a good enough job challenging the points in the defensive zone at all. Also, the defensive pairs didn’t do a good job eliminating the Boston screens so that Bernier or Reimer could have a chance at saving some shots.
Regardless of that, it’s a win for Toronto, which keeps their playoff hopes alive. With this tough game now complete, now all the focus will be on the extent of Bernier’s injury and finding a way to build off this win.
I believe if head coach Randy Carlyle hopes to keep winning, then he must first address his team’s terrible turnovers throughout this game. Toronto had a total of 12 turnovers, one of which led to the Bruins' first goal by Brad Marchand. If Toronto wants to stay in this playoff race, they must be better with the puck.
The Leafs' next game is against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. I believe that Reimer will get the start and he will be ready for this next challenge.
It will be interesting to see if Joffery Lupul will be back in the lineup for Saturday’s game. I sure hope he’s close to making his return soon.
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