Leafs fall apart late and lose in overtime

TORONTO,ON - DECEMBER 6: William Nylander
TORONTO,ON - DECEMBER 6: William Nylander /

Toronto Maple Leafs are left stunned after giving up a two-goal lead late in the third period to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mike Babcock recently talked about how the Toronto Maple Leafs are a young team still learning how to win. Unfortunately for the fans, he was proved right on Monday night.

With just under five minutes remaining in the third period, the Leafs were well on their way to a third consecutive win. And unlike the two previous victories, they weren’t going to have to contend with overtime and a shootout.

Then it all fell apart. The Columbus Blue Jackets scored two goal in just 108 seconds to send the game to overtime, where they finished the comeback courtesy of Artemi Panarin.

Just like that, two points had turned into one, as the Leafs lost 3-2 before a stunned Air Canada Centre crowd. Understandably, there are concerns the team could be returning to last season’s bad habit of giving up third period leads.

However, Babcock was quick to dismiss this, while at the same time once again stressing the need to learn how to win. As reported by the Toronto Star‘s Mark Zwolinski, the Leafs coach said:

"“We lost the game but we didn’t drop back on our heels, so that doesn’t even concern me. What concerns me is you gotta learn, you gotta learn just how hard it is to win.”"

In fairness, the Toronto Maple Leafs did a lot of things right and in many respects, were unlucky not to come away with the win. Up 2-0 and in control, they continued to force the pressure and outshot the Blue Jackets 13-4 in the third period.

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Unfortunately for the Leafs, Columbus were more clinical in scoring on two of their four chances to take the game into overtime. It also helped that the Blue Jackets received a tremendous effort from last season’s Vezina trophy winner, Sergei Bobrovsky.

Bobrovsky finished the night with 35 saves on 37 shots and was understandably delighted. As reported by the Canadian Press via Sportsnet, he said:

"“Those kind of wins make good atmosphere in the locker-room, lots of energy, lots of happiness.”"

Of course, it was a different feeling in the Leafs’ locker room, as Babcock agonised over how the game turned out. As per the Canadian Press again, he said:

"“Some nights when you’re ahead you get on your heels and the other team takes it to you. That wasn’t the case at all. It was the opposite way around. But they scored on their opportunities that we gave them. That’s a free point we gave away.”"


Game notes:

  • Frederick Andersen saved 30 of 33 shots
  • Leafs were 1/2 on the power play, while the Blue Jackets were 0/3
  • Toronto outshot Columbus 37-33 overall, but were outshot 4-2 in overtime
  • James van Riemsdyk scored his 18th goal of the season, second-most on the team
  • William Nylander scored the other Leafs goal and he is now second on the team with 31 overall points
  • Travis Dermott played his second NHL game and spent time paired with Jake Gardiner
  • The Leafs next game is on Wednesday, against the Ottawa Senators

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What was your main takeaway from the game on Monday night? Are you worried about the late collapse, or do you view it as just a temporary blip for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.