Kapanen likes a big stage.— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) April 16, 2017
Overtime winner for WJC gold.
Game-tying goal in #Leafs clincher.
Double-OT winner to tie series.
This is how an image gets built. And it’s legitimate, Kasperi Kapanen did all those things. But he also scored a lot of goals on the Marlies. He had nine last year, 18 this year, and a lot of those goals weren’t so pretty or anything people called clutch.
It was all the other hard work he did in the AHL for two years that brought him here. But no one ever says, wow, Kappy, that was a clutch PK there. But it was his drive and willingness to become good at PK that got him a Leafs’ roster spot late this season, that put him in the playoffs, put him in a position to earn ice time with some exceptional fourth line shifts. It was all of that work on the small stage that got him to this:
Brian Boyle knows all about that. He’s made a career out of it.
Boyle made a point of the fact that the fourth line were a little fresher in OT. They played less than 15 minutes of five-on-five hockey in the game, while Auston Matthews topped the forwards in TOI with 22:13, so they were a little less tired. But the key thing he said is that when they were out for an offensive zone shift in the second overtime, they took it seriously.
Kappy won the draw. Don’t forget that I got kicked out, and he comes in and he wins the draw. And then we did what we did best, I think, and that’s put some pressure on them and we get the puck back.
Just watch that video for Boyle’s description of the goal and how he watched it through the net. I like his bit about telling the rookies how you have to work for your bounces, too.
Kapanen, Boyle and Matt Martin teamed up for two goals. All three were in on the tying goal shortly after Roman Polak was hurt as well as the big one. Per Kristen Shilton, that’s the first multi-point night of Matt Martin’s season with the Leafs.
They were an obviously effective line, working hard all game, and in the first game as well, but William Nylander looked like he was the man who really deserved to score in both games. He was a monster on the ice in game two, backchecking hard, skating at his top speed, working the puck. Working. It didn’t bounce for him, but he was working, and so was Kapanen.
Kapanen met the media after the game with Morgan Rielly, but Kapanen is cool, practised and not intimidated by any of this. He didn’t need his hand held (The volume shoots way up at one point, watch out.)
Rielly assured us they have “young legs” and will be fine. And listening to Rielly handing this presser, you need to remember once again that he’s 23.
And now you need to watch the long form of the final goal with all of the celebration, capped off (see what I did there?) with Leo Komarov making Kappy laugh.
Kasperi Kapanen, everyone: Kaptain Klutch.