The eight-game losing streak that had Toronto Maple Leafs fans pulling out their hair in frustration has finally come to an end with a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames.
The first period of this game was scoreless, with both teams putting up few shots on net. The scoring wouldn’t be opened until early in the second period, in which Jay McClement tapped in a beautiful feed from Cody Franson. The Flames answered with a tally of their own late in the second to tie the game up.
The third period proved to be a strong offensive period for the Leafs. Dave Bolland scored with a deflection off a Calgary defenseman and David Clarkson potted a breakaway goal to give the Leafs a 3-1 lead. Kris Russell of the Flames scored a goal of his own to make things interesting late in the game, but the Blue and White held on to record their first two-point performance since March 13th.
Some thoughts on the game:
A key to Toronto’s success in this game was secondary scoring. The Leafs’ goals came from the likes of McClement, Bolland and Clarkson, all of which aren’t your everyday scorers (although earning $5.25-million per year, Clarkson is expected to be). In order for the Leafs to win games, they can’t rely on the top line to be hot every single game. Some scoring from the second, third and even the fourth line guys every so often is exactly what this team needs, and they got it in this game.
After recording two points tonight, the Leafs are now sitting at 82 points with six games remaining. It’s come to the point where fans will be scoreboard watching several teams for the rest of the season in hopes that the Leafs will find a crack and sneak their way into a playoff position.
The Leafs received some help tonight as the Washington Capitals lost in regulation, and both the Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils lost in overtime. This has put the Leafs just one point back of the second wild card position. With a mix of some tough and some not-so-tough competition on the horizon, the Leafs need to put together a bit of a winning streak if they have any hopes of continuing their play into the postseason.
The Leafs will move onto to tackle the beast that is the Boston Bruins at home on Thursday, where they’ll look to build off of their first win in nine games.