Last night’s game was a rollercoaster of emotions. The Leafs started poorly, very obviously the second fastest team on the ice, but came out in the second period and really dominated the game in the offensive zone. Finally in the third, they were playing like they were down and the Flames like they were ahead. It was a good mentality to have, unfortunately, that situation came to pass with an unfortunate goal late in the third.
Thankfully shortly after that, William Nylander not only scored the game-tying goal with two minutes left and the game-winning goal in overtime.
I thought the Leafs had lost that game when the Flames went up. To have them come all the way back lightning fast was a whirlwind of awesome. This feeling comes once in a while throughout a season and I always enjoy basking in it.
In the process of basking, I wanted to relive some of Nylander’s best moments as well as Hutchinson’s moments. As our third goalie, we only expected disappointment from him, but hats off as he dueled with David Rittich and won. He faced a lot of tough shots and simply put didn’t make a mess of them. Limited rebounds, limited swimming, and he was very aware of when his skaters were tired and in a vulnerable position. Watching him after two games of Garret Sparks on the Stockton Heat was a relieving breath of fresh air.
On Nylander, he had his legs moving all game and took a lot of abuse down low from a very agitating Flames defense. Yeah, he loses the puck at the end of this battle, but he stole it from Backlund twice and had to get cross-checked in the back (illegally) to have it taken away. He was doing work like this all game and it’s very nice to see him get rewarded for it in the end.
Nylander led the Leafs in shot attempts and expected goals at 5v5, despite being eighth in icetime (less than 11 minutes at 5v5, 16 minutes in all situations!). His on-ice metrics were also great despite the limited icetime he got. And by the way, Sheldon, please, play him more!
Duck season— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 25, 2021
Rabbit season pic.twitter.com/SBt853A5x5
Bench reaction to the Nylander goal— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 25, 2021
Dermott's hops lol pic.twitter.com/lRp8bMur6P
Willy mentioned in his post-game interview how games like this are what the team needs to learn how to win in the playoffs. Unlucky, frustrating, and a goalie having a night on the other side. Not giving up, or forcing things, but instead keeping the intensity and trusting the process. I think every playoffs that’s come and gone he’s learned to be more consistent and this season will be no different.
Nylander post-game interview pic.twitter.com/GsNkIhg7Mj— Holl 4 Norris (@LeafsAllDayy) February 25, 2021
Hey, this is cool. Nylander tried the same move on Price over the weekend, he got it to stick this time.
Great chance for Nylander pic.twitter.com/onlfSND5Ic— Holl 4 Norris (@LeafsAllDayy) February 21, 2021
Just say he’s on a 36 goal/season pace! That’s still really good without any need to move the goalposts!
That’s 40 goals for William Nylander in his last 92 games.— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) February 25, 2021
Quotes from his teammates showing some love. I mentioned on Twitter that I wish we could hear this stuff from his teammates more often than when he single-handedly wins a game. He gets a lot of crap, hearing this positive reinforcement from the people who know him best is important to have out in the world. It costs nothing to say “fuck yeah, Willy’s awesome, we love him!” Especially when he gets xenophobic hit-pieces written about him on the daily.
Zach Hyman on William Nylander:— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 25, 2021
"Extremely happy for him. He’s an incredible player. I think people don’t realize how much he cares and how much he wants to win. To see him be the hero tonight, it’s just great.”
More Zach Hyman on William Nylander:— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 25, 2021
"He gets misunderstood all the time. And I think the guys in the locker room know how much he cares, and how much he wants to win. I can't speak higher of him."
John Tavares on William Nylander:— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 25, 2021
"He is such a big part of our hockey team and our locker room, with his personality and his drive to be a great player. So it's awesome to see him get two big ones tonight, I know it's very uplifting for him."
William Nylander on if he thinks he's misunderstood:— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 25, 2021
"I don't really read or anything what you guys write. I try to put my work in as good as I can every day at the rink and battle."
And for Hutchinson, here is a compilation of some of his most notable saves. Again, I really liked his rebound control and calmness in net. He was super vital to the win.
Solid save by Hutchinson off the deflection pic.twitter.com/SzpAYkE6qe— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 25, 2021
Another save for Hutchinson off the neutral zone turnover pic.twitter.com/TVNUo70lr8— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 25, 2021
Clear lane for Hutchinson to glove this down pic.twitter.com/eX5v6OrLjp— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 25, 2021
Catch and hold. Perfect.
Hutch puts the hand up to Gaudreau pic.twitter.com/oGzwW5MbDg— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 25, 2021
Various Leafs and Branches
William Nylander 2, Calgary Flames 1 | by: Yours Truly
This article by Katya did really well on our site, but for comparison, the EOTP article of the firing did three times better. It had insanely big reach.
Auston Matthews, 18 goals in 20 games, injured wrist. Normally I would be upset that he put his long term health at risk, but Matthews pretty much single-handedly put us in the playoffs after 20 games, so I’m not going to argue his choice. Thank you, Auston.
Sheldon Keefe says Auston Matthews has been dealing with a wrist injury "virtually all season."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 25, 2021
He's got 18 goals and 31 points in 20 games.
Arizona’s Craig Morgan wrote puff piece on Mitchell Miller, washing away critiques, and framing an inaccurate representation of his attacks on Isaiah Meyer-Crothers. The article is linked if you want to read it, but I’ve also shared some very important criticisms that should be consumed with it.
Great question, Mike. I'd also like to know this, Craig.— Black Girl Hockey Club (@BlackGirlHockey) February 24, 2021
I'm not going to share that sad attempt at a redemption piece on Mitchell Miller, but my thoughts:— Melissa Burgess (@_MelissaBurgess) February 24, 2021
First and foremost, yes, this is a PR move. His "representatives" literally reached out to the writer about an interview! See it for what it is!
Isaiah’s mom even had to come online and dispute the claims.
Jokerit of the KHL will play all their playoff games in Russia this year. I guess they weren’t granted access to come in and out of Finland for the tournament.
After talks with Finnish authorities and the KHL, Jokerit has come to the decision to play all playoff games at opposition rinks this spring.— Jokerit Helsinki (@Jokerit_EN) February 24, 2021
With this action, Jokerit is able to limit traveling and to better operate in bubble-like circumstances.#Jokerit #KHL pic.twitter.com/nAscwoGcTi