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Recap: Wings 2, Leafs 1 (OT)

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Another soft goal sinks the Leafs.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Box ScoreWar On Ice

The first period began well for the Leafs. The trio of James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, and Leo Komarov had great chances even on its first shift, and James Reimer came up with a few great stops to keep things scoreless as well. Overall, the team was in good shape. The first goal of the game, however, was pretty deflating.

Henrik Zetterberg snapped a shot from just inside the blue line that took a funny hop off Reimer's pad and in. The shot wasn't really a screen shot, wasn't overly hard, and simply continued the Leafs' recent tendency of giving up a soft goal to start the game. This is all particularly frustrating since the team is actually playing pretty well, and reminds me in at least that one regard of the Paul Maurice era.

At the end of the first, the Leafs had out-shot the Red Wings 12-9 and had looked generally good doing it. That being said, it's getting pretty old watching the team being sunk by goaltending.

The Leafs began the second period with a brief 5-on-3 as Kadri (who else?) drew a high-sticking penalty, but the Buds were unable to make anything of it.

Although the Kadri line was again the larger story for the Leafs early in the second, Byron Froese came within inches of scoring his first goal in a Leafs' uniform on a line with Brad Boyes and and Michael Grabner, as he rang one off the post after pressing in the Wings' end.

The second period ended with the Leafs leading 20-12 in shots, with Kadri leading the way for the Leafs with 4. Honestly, it was hard to notice any other player on the ice. It's not that Kadri is the best player we've ever seen, but pretty much every single other line is entirely unremarkable. This, I suppose, is an improvement, in that we used to notice that more of them were bad, but it's hard to write about other players.

Roman Polak is bad. Morgan Rielly still looks good. Dion Phaneuf is OK. Lupul gets the odd chance. It's hard to find much to write about other than bad goaltending and Kadri.

The third period say the Leafs take three successive high-sticking penalties, each of which was entirely unnecessary. First, it was Nick Spaling on Zetterberg just second into the third. Then, it was Tyler Bozak waving at a fluttering puck in the offensive zone. Next, Daniel Winnik took another one. Reimer made some good saves keeping things even, and Shawn Matthias even got a shorthanded breakaway, but he shovelled it wide.

Kadri drew his third penalty (!) of the evening with just over four minutes to go, but the Leafs couldn't make anything of the chance. In fact, they didn't even manage to put a single shot on net.

Finally. Finally. The dam burst with the Leafs' net empty, as Dion Phaneuf finally chipped home the game-tying goal, as the puck bounced off him, Mrazek, the butt of the Mrazek's stick, and then over the goalie's back and into the net. It was an ugly, ugly Corsi goal, and the Leafs were more than happy to take it with 61 seconds left in the third period.

Overtime saw Nick Spaling (wait, what?), Joffrey Lupul, and Matt Hunwick get stuck on the ice for way too long. Reimer had to absolutely stone Gustav Nyqvist twice to save the game and get a change.

Then, Jakub Kindl picked up the puck, and, with 2:43 in OT, drifted right through Jake Gardiner and van Riemsdyk while they watched, and roofed one on Reimer. It was really poor defensive communication between the two Leafs, though perhaps fatigue played a factor. Either way, it looked terrible on both of them.

In the end, this is another game where a soft goal and a lack of scoring continued to plague the Leafs, and cost them another point. In fact, it probably cost them two points, since the Wings were eminently beatable tonight.

Le sigh.