Leafs beat New York in overtime, 3-2, on a day where Leaf management opted to make no moves on trade deadline day, convinced that chemistry is good and there’s sufficient firepower to win the big games come June. The game was odd.
Bozak scored a beauty on a penalty shot. He’s a breakaway artiste, I believe 3/5 in shootouts this year including the game winner in the outdoor game. Nice fake out, a clutch, and I think he went 5 hole or low glove but really he had little room to thread it and somehow he did.
Kadri scored a ball hockey goal. Kulemin made a nice patient move to the slot, waiting a while before getting a decent shot away, and Naz was there to bat the bouncing rebound home.
Things looked good for the buds when a Ranger was called for tripping with 14 minutes left in the third. But the Leafs failed to kill the power play, New York somehow scoring twice. I’d say this never, ever happens, except it happened like last week.
The first goal was the result of some miscues and diabolical puck luck. Puck went off a skate to a Ranger (a New York one, not Paul) who took a shot, but Bozak’s stick redirected the puck way wide of the net, only to hit Phaneuf’s ass (hard not to hit Dion’s ass, the biggest in the league) and got behind Bernier.
Our heroes were determined to use the power play to restore a 2-goal lead, so they went up ice with grit poise and purpose and New York scored a minute later. 2-2.
I’ve been chirping the hockey gods in this space lately and I wondered if they preferred to communicate their disgust with me this way, rather than say post in my comment section. But superstition is stupid, and I never give in to it during the regular season. So I made the hockey gods no offerings and trusted the boys to pull through.
And in overtime, the apartment line checked in. Kessel made a sharp entry into the zone. Lundqvist directed the biscuit behind the net, Phil fought for it and sent a sweet pass to the front of the net to his roommate / video game companion, and Bozak buried.
It was Martin St. Louis’ first game as a Ranger, reunited once more Richards, Cup winners in Tampa, the beneficiaries of anti-Canadian refs conspiring against the Calgary Flames. If you’ll recall, the Flames scored a goal in overtime of game 6 that should have won them the Cup, but the refs said “nah,” determined to give the Cup to a tropical hockey market filled with rich die hard fans of baseball and NASCAR.
That the Leafs stymied this Cup-winning duo, extra energized in this their first game together, speaks volumes about the Leafs capacity to win come June. I look forward to the imminent glory.