The Toronto Maple Leafs dropped the final game of their four-game Western Conference road trip with a disappointing overtime loss against the
Atlanta Thrashers Winnipeg Jets Saturday night. The Leafs gave up two quick first period goals to fall behind early before a Dion Phaneuf clapper cut the deficit to 2-1.
It would be short lived, however, as back-to-back Jets goals by Brian Little and Zach Bogosian would put the Jets up 4-1 and eventually end James Riemer’s night. The Leafs would use the sudden goal change to score two goals scored by Troy Brodie and Tim Gleason to put the Leafs behind 4-3 at the end of the second. The Leafs would put a strong period to use and tie it up thanks to an amazing goal by Phil Kessel. (Really, with the angle he was given it was pretty sweet.)
It would remain a deadlock before an overtime snipe by Dustin Byfuglien would give the Jets the extra point and the win. It was a tough pill to swallow (as is any loss), but despite giving up four goals, the Leafs looked pretty good. When it mattered though, they could not get the job done.
Kessel continues his recent tear offensively as he netted his sixth goal in six games and eight points in his last five. The line of Kessel-Tyler Bozak-James van Riemsdyk has been the Leafs’ main scoring threat during this road trip. Kessel and JvR combined for three points while most of the other lines struggled. To put it simply, Kessel is just nasty.
Morgan Rielly looked amazing, picking up an assist on Troy Bodie‘s goal and really looked good carrying the puck and creating plays. Every game he looks more and more comfortable and it looks like Carlyle has a ton of trust in the young kid as he played just under 20 minutes for the Leafs. I just hope Carlyle continues to pair him with Jake Gardiner.
The Leafs return home with a tilt against one of the top teams in the East in the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. It will be a tall task trying to stop Martin St.Louis as he has eight (!) points in his last five games and has been on an absolute tear since
Steve Yzerman ripped his heart out he failed to make the Canadian Olympic team. With Stamkos out, he has carried the team on his back to keep them from being a basement team.
The game can be seen on TSN and heard on their local radio station TSN Radio 1050.