The Leafs played a not exactly enthralling, but effective game on Sunday night against the Detroit Red Wings. They did something very weird and unusual: they won. This marks the Leafs seventh win since January 7, and their fourth (!!) regulation win since that time. Suffice to say, this doesn't happen very often around these parts anymore.
Now, to the game:
The Leafs started out by alternating buzzing the Wings' net with scrambling in their own. The first period didn't have much in the way of offense, but here's what else happened:
-Red Wings fans proclaimed Sportsnet biased, presumably because the broadcast didn't spend much time talking about how they're ~*classy*~ or a model franchise, as broadcasters are not likely to do with an eighth place team with a 34-34 record.
-William Nylander: thirsty for a goal.
-Ben Smith scored a goal....kinda. It bounced off his shoulder, and the refs waved it off. 0-0.
-Leo Komarov drew some furrowed eyebrows for hurting Pavel Datsyuk (who came back later in the game):
Datsyuk to the locker room after this. Leo Komarov, a real piece of work. pic.twitter.com/OX4IJViEW6— Kyle WIIM (@KyleWIIM) March 14, 2016
As you can see, Datsyuk trips Nazem Kadri, then is lightly pushed by Leo. At this point he falls into Kadri, whom he previously tripped. Gotta take that stuff out of the game.
The Red Wings would answer the Leafs 1-0 lead in imaginary goals with an imaginary goal of their own. Dylan Larkin put a puck past Jonathan Bernier, but had interfered with him such that he could not make the save. The goal was then called off....for a hand pass? Gotta hand it to the NHL: even when they get something right, they arrive at that decision in the weirdest way possible.
Speaking of weird, the Leafs finally got on the board with 30 seconds left in the second. Michael Grabner (?) scored a goal with his butt (?!). No description I have will do it justice, so here is the video. 1-0 Leafs.
They all count the same.* #TMLtalk— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 14, 2016
*after video reviewhttps://t.co/EPYalKPlET
The third was equally uneventful. Shockingly, the Leafs played some low-event hockey, which was mainly shocking because I forgot what watching the Leafs have a lead looked like.
Also, William Nylander. THE THIRST.
This William Nylander kid can really move. #TMLTalk pic.twitter.com/WehSFMIMiP— Greg Balloch (@GregBalloch) March 14, 2016
In the end, Bernier had perhaps his best game of the year, posting a 38-save shutout. The Leafs PK continued rolling.
My opposing player compliment of the night: definitely Dylan Larkin. Kid pantsed the Leafs D with his speed on a couple occasions. He forced Connor Carrick to tackle him just to prevent a breakaway. Kid is for real.
My three stars of the night:
3) William Nylander- no points tonight, but Babcock put him against tougher comp, and he had chances all night. He's been in the NHL two weeks, and he doesn't look out of place.
2) Michael Grabner's butt- stone hands, magical posterior.
1) Jonathan Bernier- Leaf fans- me especially- have given him all kinds of flak this year, but this was an amazing game, and arguably his best all year. With Sparks' play of late, he's earned some more starts.