Toronto Maple Leafs Push Past the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in Overtime
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Coming off a win where they scored five goals in one period against the New York Rangers the Toronto Maple Leafs looked to get back to an even record against the Colorado Avalanche. The odds were in the Leafs favour with the Colorado Avalance playing the day before against the Boston Bruins where the Avalanche pulled away with the victory after Daniel Briere scored the game winner with 0.5 seconds left in the game.
Oct 14, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer (34) celebrates after defeating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
There were many story-lines heading into the game. James Reimer received his second straight start and Jake Gardiner was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. One decision was a no-brainer but the other one, not so much. Right out of the gate Stephane Robidas allows a Colorado forwards (can’t remember who exactly I think it was either Matt Duchene or Nathan MacKinnon to get by him on a breakaway which forced Robidas to take a penalty.
Just when things were looking up for the Leafs with solid play from the third line of David Clarkson, Leo Komarov and Mike Santorelli, Ryan O’Reilly tied the game after all five Leafs players collapsed in front of James Reimer. The problem for Toronto in their own end the has been their inability to pick up the opposing players when they get open because they are following the puck not the open plyer. As you will see in the video below O’Reilly was allowed to circle around the net and pick up the puck while all five Leafs players were caught looking lost on the play.
The Leafs started to play uncharacteristically by pouring on the shots starting at the midway point of the second period until the end of the game.
As the Leafs kept pouring on the shots, Matt Duchene was able to get a late goal past Reimer on what was a great individual effort not much could have been done on the play. Semyon Varlamov was able to keep the Avalanche in the game until Joffrey Lupul got a bouncing puck and buried it to tie the game. Lupul has been one of the Leafs best forwards this season committing to a more two way game, getting some hits and provide some offence as well.
The Colorado Avalanche look fatigued and were just trying to survive the game and get at least a point out of the Leafs. Unfortunately when you keep giving Phil Kessel chances to score he will capitalize on it. Tyler Bozak spotted Kessel breaking out of the zone but after Kessel fumbled the puck he recovered in the corner and moved the puck to the front of the net and buried a beautiful goal past Varlamov.
James Reimer recorded his second straight win stopping 22/24 shots on goal while Semyon Varlamov tried to keep Colorado in the game but got the loss stopping 37/40 shots on goal.
Many alluded to Colorado being fatigued after what was a hard fought victory against the Boston Bruins
James Mirtle also reminded us of the last victory that Toronto beat their opponent on the shot clock and scoreboard.
After starting the season without a point, Kessel has five points in his past two games, something that this team desperately needed.
Oct 14, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Colorado Avalanche right wing Jarome Iginla (12) exchanges words with Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf (3) at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Dion Phaneuf and Stuart Percy were the leaders in time on ice (TOI), Phaneuf had 24:18 TOI while Percy had 23:34 TOI. Now before you get worried about Percy’s TOI, he had 5:06 TOI on the powerplay, Cody Franson was the only other defencemen with more at 5:33.
The game was entertaining but many people including myself were not to happy about the referee’s decision to break up a potential fight between Dion Phaneuf and Jarome Iginla. I can understand if the referees wanted to protect both players but Iginla was not happy about a hit that he took from Phaneuf. If the players do not settle it with a fight how else can you expect a player to defend himself, take a cheap shot back?
It was a great win for the Leafs and hopefully they can ride this winning streak and get at least three out of the four possible points in a home-and-home series with the Detroit Red Wings.