The Toronto Maple Leafs converted on a Lars Eller penalty to get the eventual game winner in overtime, but the centre’s ties with this team run further than Game 3.
It’s amazing how things work out isn’t it? Many had the Toronto Maple Leafs losing their series against the Washington Capitals in four or five games.
Interestingly, this was a power play goal. With 16 seconds left in the third period, Captials’ centre Lars Eller took a high sticking penalty against Zach Hyman. Eller’s shenanigans this game started back in the first period when he put a glove in Marner’s face.
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On one hand, you could consider the OT winner karma for what Eller did in the first period. However if you want to have some fun, this could’ve been written in the stars all the way back to 2007.
Bare with me here, as I’m going to have to open up some closed wounds. Did you know Eller was originally a Leafs draft pick?
Yes I know, usually this is followed up by a groan and an eye roll. At the 2007 NHL Draft, the Leafs acquired goaltender Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell from the San Jose Sharks for a 2007 first and second round pick, as well as a 2009 fourth round pick.
San Jose decided to trade that pick to St. Louis, which the Blues then used the now 13th overall pick to draft Eller.
The centreman only saw seven games with the team, before he was traded to Montreal in the infamous Jaroslav Halak deal. The Denmark native then played six seasons with the Habs, before being traded to the Washington Capitals at the 2016 NHL Draft.
Now we get back to the present. Obviously it was the players on the ice that led to Toronto getting the eventual series leading goal. However, it’s funny that fans can hear the words “former Leafs pick”, and not have to have the dark cloud of the past hover over them.
A “former Leafs pick” gave the Leafs a huge power play opportunity. In a way, Game 3’s overtime was in the works for years now.
According to MoneyPuck.com, the Leafs will have an 86 percent chance of winning the series if they take Game 4 on Wednesday. The impossible is slowly starting to become possible as this series continues.
During the post game conference, Capital’s coach Barry Trotz said:
"Our resolve’s been tested. They’ve capitalized on their chances and we haven’t"
Oh how right you are Trotz, the Leafs did. Thank you Lars Eller for the chance to end the game. It started with a trade and ended with a winner.