Toronto Maple Leafs Get Ninth Point Out of Ten in O.T Loss

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 4: Nazem Kadri #91 of the Colorado Avalanche gets set to take the opening faceoff against John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on December 4, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Avalanche defeated the Maple Leafs 3-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 4: Nazem Kadri #91 of the Colorado Avalanche gets set to take the opening faceoff against John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on December 4, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Avalanche defeated the Maple Leafs 3-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche gave us a late Christmas present last night: the most entertaining NHL game of the season so far.

With some of the world’s best players on the ice, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche gave us nine goals, and some OT drama – things that have been in short supply lately.

Sure, I wish the Leafs had of won, but:

C’est la vie.

Toronto Maple Leafs Lose in OT

Whenever you blow a three goal lead, losing the game is always a drag, but last night’s game wasn’t one I think anyone should be upset about.

The Leafs recovered from a rough start (Colorado, aided by a power-play, had the first seven shots of the game) by scoring three straight goals.

The Avalanche are one of the league’s best teams and you’ve got to give them credit for the comeback more than you can blame the Leafs (and the Avs lost 8-3 to Toronto last time, which was much worse for them than last night was for the Leafs).

Neither team really played a good game last night (assuming you think defense is a requirement for a “good game”) – the teams traded scoring chances (27-26 in the Leafs favor) and dangerous scoring chances (11-10 for the Leafs) all night, and Colorado just happened to come out on top.

The Leafs had a slight edge (51-49) in Expected Goals, and really, they should be proud of their game – the refs gave Colorado a huge advantage, and the Leafs didn’t have Mitch Marner, Pierre Engvall, Timothy Liljegren or Ondrej Kase.

Anytime you can go out on the road and get to an OT coin-flip against a top team while missing four regulars and getting absolutely crotch-kicked by the referees, you’ve got to be happy with your performance, no matter what order the goals went in.  (all stats naturalstattrick.com).

I was actually really hoping the Toronto Maple Leafs would hold on , not just because I always want them to win, but also because the article I planned to write about how crappy the refs were looks a lot less whiny when the team actually wins.

The Avalanche spent 8 minutes on the power-play last night, while the Leafs had just one minor penalty called in their favor.  The Avs, outshot Toronto 14-2 during each teams respective 5v4 power-plays.

I don’t know why the Leafs do not seem to get calls, but it’s ridiculous. The Avalanche have played 2 less games than Toronto, and they have 28 more power-plays. The Leafs have the best power-play in hockey (by percentage, and by goals per minute) and it really seems like knowing this, referees are hesitant to give them power-plays.

Last night, Auston Matthews had the puck in the offensive zone, which means that probably all four on-ice officials were watching him.  He got tripped, blatantly, with no call.   There is no way the refs didn’t see it, and it was a pretty obvious penalty, so what gives?  Compared to the Ritchie call, it was a 10 vs a 2.

The Leafs Secret Weapon. dark. Next

Either way, bad refs, blown lead, no Marner, doesn’t matter – the Leafs got their point, and they now have nine of their last ten points.   Great game.