Toronto Maple Leafs Lose Key Players Then Lose Game

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs
Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings squared off Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena where the former Norris Division rivals were in a must win situation with their playoff lives on the line.

Things did not look good for the Toronto Maple Leafs early in the first as Timothy Liljegren who had just returned to the previous eight games was drilled from behind by Joe Veleno and had to leave the game (but did return). What confused most of the hockey community was that Veleno received just a two minute minor for boarding, while many thought it deserved a five minute major.

The Leafs would capitalize on the powerplay as Mitch Marner would bury his first goal since returning to the line-up four games ago. The former fourth overall pick had collected points in each of his previous four games since re-joining the team with a total five assists.

Marner's powerplay goal was the peak of the period for the club and nothing went right after that with the Red Wings scoring four times in a span of 9:39 to finish out the first period.

Many believed that Ilya Samsonov who stopped just nine of the 13 shots likely would not return to the net for the second period, but in a head scratcher move he was left in there and the decision worked out for the team.

The tide would turn when Nick Robertson started a comeback with an electric shot over the glove hand of James Reimer to bring the team back within two. Robertson continues to try to show Sheldon Keefe why he should be in the line-up as he has scored in four of his last five games and had it not been for a goal called back he would have had five tallies in that time frame.

In what has come a trend by the Maple Leafs the team responded quickly after the Robertson goal with Auston Matthews finding the back of the net for his 69th goal of the season which came on the powerplay that was set up by Marner.

Captain John Tavares would help bring the team all the way back with his 27th goal of the season with just under three minutes left set up again by Marner for his third point of the game. Tavares has now scored three goals in his last two games after scoring just one in his previous ten.

The third period was a back and forth affair with neither team being able to find the back of the net which led to the teams going to overtime. Unfortunately, Max Domi took a needless hooking penalty with ten seconds left in regulation which carried over into overtime where the Red Wings would score after T.J. Brodie was first unable to clear the puck down the ice and then let Dylan Larkin stand uncontested in front of the net to redirect a point shot for the winner.

Toronto Maple Leafs Lose a Pair to Injuries

Bobby McMann was injured in the first period with what the team stated was a lower body injury and did not return to the game after skating for just 4:10.

Late in the second period Jake McCabe blocked a shot off his face which left him bloodied on the ice and he also left the game and did not return.

The defense for the playoffs is up in the air and looks messy at this point. Ilya Lyubushkin looked awful in the first period, however was able to settle in for the final two frames. Keefe's favourite T.J. Brodie had another rough night as he continued making poor decisions with the puck which caused extended shifts in the Maple Leafs end, eventually leading to the game winning goal by the Red Wings.


The team will fly to the State of Florida where the will take on the Panthers and Lightning on Monday and Tuesday next week.