If my last LWIR detailed the worst week of the Toronto Maple Leafs season, this one just might recap the best.
In action three times, the Leafs would go home victorious in every game, climbing back into the hotly contested playoff wildcard spot.
On Sunday the 12th, the Leafs were in action against the New Jersey Devils for their second meeting of the season. The first was a Leafs victory, coming off the hands of NJ native James van Riemsdyk, who scored the shootout winner. Tyler Bozak would continue his great run of form and score in the opening frame, and JVR would sneak in a rebound on the powleplay in the second period after Adam Henrique tied the game. Ryan Clowe scored his first as a Devil late in the third period to even up the score. Overtime would solve nothing, and the two teams would need another shootout to settle the score. Jonathan Bernier would come up big, stopping all three Devils shooters while you guess it, James van Riemsdyk would score the winning goal.
Two nights later, the Leafs were in Boston for their third meeting of the year with the dreaded Bruins. Tyler Bozak scored two goals in the first period to keep his hot streak going. Jake Gardiner scored a powerplay marker in the second to give the Leafs a 3-2 lead headed into the third period. Just a minute into the final stanza James van Riemsdyk would score on a deflected wrist shot to expand the lead to two. Despite a Greg Campbell goal midway through the period and a huge surge from the Bruins to tie the game, Jonathan Bernier and the Leafs would stand tall to hold onto the win, perhaps exorcising the demons of last May’s fateful game.
Back in Toronto, the Leafs would go up against the lowly Buffalo Sabres in their fifth and final game of the season. James Reimer started for the Leafs, on the opposite end of the ice Leaf killer Ryan Miller answered the bell for Buffalo. Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin, and Morgan Rielly would score for the Leafs in regulation. Matt Moulson, Matt Ellis, and Cody Hodgson replied for the Sabres. As is becoming all too common for the Leafs this year, a shootout would be needed to decide the game. JVR scored to open the shootout but his efforts were immediately countered by Matt Moulson. Joffrey Lupul then wristed home his sixth shootout goal of the year, and Cody Hodgson was stopped by Reimer. Tyler Bozak had the opportunity to end the game with a goal, he’d make the most of it and the Leafs collected two points for their third game in a row.