April 5, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardner (51) celebrates his game-tying goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson (4) at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE
So the Leafs won 3-2 in overtime. They actually deserved to win this one, too. I just wish they could have done this more often, and earlier.
Listen, I think it's great that Phil Kessel has hit the point-per-game mark. It's awesome. I mean, he's done it playing alongside Tyler Freaking Bozak for crying out loud. And the fact that Dion Phaneuf has, for all his defensive shortcomings, posted some good offensive numbers is great. All that said, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't also disappointed with the outcome of tonight's game.
You know the NHL has a great draft structure going when you cheer for your team to lose.
Follow me over the jump for more positive thoughts.
Jake Gardiner had a great game, being on the ice more than every other Leaf, save for Phaneuf. Gardiner picked up a goal and an assist, and although the goal was an own-goal off a Lightning defender, it was a nice push to the net nonetheless.
Kessel was everywhere, and could have had a hat trick if the bounces went his way. Settling for an assist ain't bad, though.
Former Leaf Keith Aulie saw 15:34 of ice time, and saw most of his minutes come against the Leafs bottom two lines. This is the way that Ron Wilson should have been deploying him, even though he looked awful no matter what situation he was in. Tonight, Aulie played a relatively quiet game, which is what the Lightning should hope for from him.
As for the goaltenders, Ben Scrivens had a good night, and showed signs of being a competent NHL goaltender. Make no mistake, I am making no conclusions, and I still would prefer to see him in the AHL next season, but it's good to see him stop 35 of 37 shots.
Dwayne Roloson, despite only stopping 28 of 31 shots, made several formidable saves - several on Kessel - and, despite his low save percentage - didn't play a poor game.
In the end, I'm somewhat sad that the Leafs can't finish any lower than 4th. Man, I hope they win the lottery.