Tonight Milan Lucic played in his 1,000th NHL game, but more importantly David Rittich and Scott Sabourin played they’re first games as members of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jason Spezza sat, and Sabourin stepped into the forward lines for his first NHL game in over a year.
Rittich was tested early, but he made his first save on the first shot of the game:
Rittich getting involved right off the bat pic.twitter.com/PU38h2uX8H— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 13, 2021
The Leafs started the game much better than last night against the Montreal Canadiens, without giving up easy shots or sloppy play until Juuso Valimaki is left wide open a the Leafs net and he scores off an assist from Milan Lucic to open the scoring. 1-0 Calgary.
After the goal the Maple Leafs tighten things up a bit, but they’re playing without the oomph you would want, but they did play a game last night. The game progresses without either team putting on a dominant performance, but Zach Hyman and Morgan Rielly make up for the defense lapse that gave the Flames the lead by teaming up to score the tying goal, and the assist is the 300th point for Rielly.
At the post goal face off, Sabourin and Lucic celebrate the latters 1000th game with what should be an illegal face off bout.
The final half of the first period is nice, even hockey without any penalties. It wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t awful, but it was nice to not be awful.
Shots for both teams were kept under ten, but the Flames had the better chances to take the lead.
Closer look— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
Mangiapane was right there for a shot attempt pic.twitter.com/9Cx3HVrMkb
At the end of the period, Matthew Tkachuk gives Rittich a snow shower, which neither Rittich nor Justin Holl appreciate.
Rittich gives Tkachuk a jab after the snow shower— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
Piece of work pic.twitter.com/wQoewTuxdB
Of course Tkachuk, the weasel that he is, grabs a fist full of Mitch Marners sweater to act like a tough guy.
Marner: Come on Matthew. Let's not do this. Do you want some cheese? pic.twitter.com/0uMztXZgPT— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
The first period ends 1-1.
The second period begins with a penalty to Mitch Marner off the face off, he’s called for tripping, and Elias Lindholm scores immediately on the power play.
The Leafs pick up the defense, keeping the Flames from getting another shot on goal for a few minutes, despite the Flames play.
Another good stick by Dermott deflecting Mangiapane's shot wide pic.twitter.com/pHfbmcZ9YU— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
The Maple Leafs don’t clock a shot on goal for the first five minutes of the period, Nick Robertson comes close to tying the game but hits the net instead.
Robertson with the curl-drag-shoot— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
Hits the side of the net though pic.twitter.com/osJvt4f0bG
The Leafs pick up the play after that with Mitch Marner getting a chance of his own and Scott Sabourin bringing more physical play to the game.
Marner circles around and shoots through a bit of traffic pic.twitter.com/TA8hFBqE41— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
Big hit by Sabourin getting in on the forecheck pic.twitter.com/vLLms9vrAD— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
The Maple Leafs come the closest they have to tying the game when Marner and Tavares team up, but they can’t get it past Jakob Markstrom.
What a set of moves by Mitch Marner— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
Tavares gets the shot by Markstrom stops it pic.twitter.com/k9BozPDDtt
The Maple Leafs don’t let up, as Matthews, Marner, and Galchenyuk team up to test Markstrom with a flurry of shots and rebound, and Zach Bogosian jumps in with a slap shot from the point but they can not score a goal.
Marner with a no-look backhand saucer to Matthews— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
Galchenyuk and Bogosian with chances to score pic.twitter.com/DPSeWdGHQS
I mention those moments by the Leafs, because otherwise its them getting hemmed in their own zone for two minutes or nothing exciting happening. By the end of the second both teams have just squeaked over the double digits mark in shots.
Big Save Dave forces Ryan to the side of the net pic.twitter.com/IY04BgDWTV— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
Justin Holl is called for holding on that play, with just over 2 1⁄2 minutes left in the period. The Leafs aren’t scored on off the face off this time, so it’s a win of a penalty kill. No goal on the man advantage for Calgary, and the second period ends 2-1.
The Maple Leafs have a 2-8 record when entering the third period behind. It’s going to take a lot of work to make this loss a win.
They put the work in early with an insane play that somehow doesn’t get past Markstrom and has the refs waving off goals like they want to take flight.
After the Flames pin down the Leafs in the defensive zone for a minute, Toronto gets free and the puck gets to Alex Kerfoot and het gets it off the post and in to tie the game, and score his 50th career goal.
The Maple Leafs really wake up after this goal and pour on the offense with everyone on the ice trying to get the goal to give them the lead. Galchenyukl, Tavares, Brodie all come close to getting the go ahead goal.
Rasmus Anderson is called for a double minor when he high sticks Joe Thornton and draws blood. The Maple Leafs god-awful power play gets twice as long to not score a goal.
Thornton is high-sticked and bleeding— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
4 minute power play pic.twitter.com/zGlfKZREiU
In the first two minutes the Maple Leafs get off a shot or two, but they don’t score, so Thornton’s blood gives them a bit more of a chance to improve their power play conversion from dead last.
The Maple Leafs don’t score on the powerplay. At least they’re consistent.
The clock ticks down and with less than five minutes remaining the Flames take over and force play into the Maple Leafs ends, but Rittich sticks it to his former team, literally.
Big Save Dave uses the knob of his stick pic.twitter.com/nNo4vBZday— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 14, 2021
The Flames continue to put pressure on the Leafs for the final minute, but the game stays tied at the buzzer and we are headed to overtime.
Mitch Marner gets the puck right away in overtime, but can’t score. The Flames take the puck and regroup, slowly setting up a play and Johnny Gaudreau gets behind all three Leafs and curls the puck around Rittich and into the far side of the net for the win.
The Flames are chasing for Montreal Canadiens for that final playoff spot, and while the Maple Leafs lost, they got one point and the Flames got a bit closer to knocking the Canadiens out of the playoffs.
It’s a win/win loss tonight.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are off tomorrow and next play on Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets*, who are trailing the Maple Leafs for the lead of the North Division.