The Toronto Maple Leafs had every opportunity to blow a fifth straight lead, but somehow held it together last night in Calgary.
For two periods, the Calgary Flames were the superior team, but the Toronto Maple Leafs entered the third period with the lead anyway.
And they responded with an excellent - one could ever say dominant - period.
And sure, you'd like to have seen the team come out with that kind of effort, considering a four game losing streak and all, but we'll take it. (all stats naturalstattrick.com).
The Toronto Maple Leafs Stave Off Disaster With Win in Calgary
The Leafs easily could have lost this game. The first period was not great, to say the least, but then Auston Matthews took over.
Two goals in eight minutes, then an assist, then a hattrick goal to put it away, and all that was left to do was not blow another lead.
The Leafs like to blow leads. Or, at least it seems that they do. And who can blame them? They have no defense, no goalie, and things are somewhat bleak these days for the Leafers.
But out of the jaws of adversity, comes great things. Or some such thing. And Auston Matthews putting this team on his back is just about the best thing that could happen. Maybe it's the only thing, what with Martin Jones using up his hot streak already and looking much like the Martin Jones we expect lately.
The third period was something else.
For the third time this season, this game felt like a WIN OR ELSE situation, and for the third time this season, we don't get to see what the OR ELSE is.
Faced with the prospect of blowing a lead for the fifth straight game, the Toronto Maple Leafs locked it down like the pros that they puport to be.
One nerve-inducing PK situation aside, they outshot Calgary 9-4 in the third, and had 9 dangerous scoring chances to Calgary's 0.
That, my friends, is how you save your coaches job....for a day or two, at least.
The hattrick gives Matthews just a ridiculous 37 goals in 42 games. It's not pleasant to think of where this team would be if he couldn't help them win games they had no business winning.
Next up, tomorrow, Vancouver at 7PM our time, even though the game is in Vancouver. How would you feel if the Leafs played a home game at 10:00 just so Vancouver could watch it in prime time? Oh to be the centre of the universe.....