The Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes played one of the best games of the season, in front of a whopping 500 people, but Leafs fans got the last laugh.
For the first time since signing with the Hurricanes, former Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Freddie Andersen returned to Toronto.
It wasn’t the typical return you’d want for a goaltender that spent five seasons here, but it’s hard to properly salute a former player without a crowd to cheer for him. Zach Hyman went through the same painful experience a few months ago, so hopefully when it’s safe to gather again, they’ll get their due.
Leafs fans always had a love/hate relationship with Andersen. We loved him because he was the first legitimate number-one goaltender since Ed Belfour, but we hated him because he seemed to falter in the biggest moments.
His Game 7 record was abysmal and although you can’t put the entire blame on him, he was the easy target. The thing that’s so frustrating about Andersen is that when he’s playing great, he looks like Carey Price. I know that statement may sound crazy but the reason Price is so good is because of his calm demeanor.
Whenever Andersen is in the zone, he’s “Steady Freddie.” The puck seems to hit his 6-foot-4, 240 pound frame perfectly, and it looks so effortless.
Toronto Maple Leafs Get the Best of Andersen; Hurricanes
During the first period of last night’s game, Freddie was steady. He stood up tall and denied every opportunity that came his way, and Toronto had a number of great chances.
The game was trending towards a 2-1 defensive battle, but things opened up in the second and third and it was eventually a 3-3 tie that required overtime.
I know it’s 3-on-3 overtime and anything can happen, but in the biggest moment against his former team, the old Freddie Andersen returned and us Leafs fans got to finally experience the other side of things.
In previous seasons, we’d watch Andersen falter in crucial moments and we’d cry ourselves to sleep, but not this time.
When Mitch Marner scored the overtime winner, it was a blast to see Andersen on his back flopping around, while allowing a big goal and finally not being mad about it. Like he’s done so many times in his career, Andersen didn’t get the big save he needed and his team lost.
Except this time, the Toronto Maple Leafs were on the positive side of things.