The Florida Panthers, reigning Presidents Trophy winners, came to town looking to maybe win a game, why not? Sergei Bobrovsky was playing his second game in two nights, and for the Leafs Rasmus Sandin and Pontus Holmberg sat for the illness that’s circulating through the Leafs dressing room.
The Panthers repeated their quick start from last night’s game in Buffalo by taking advantage of a distracted Mitch Marner, who had a referee get in the way of retrieving the puck, and former Leafs prospect Carter Verheaghe scores 90 seconds into the game.
But! The Leafs come right back into the Panthers zone after the face off, Radko Gudas forgets the puck and goes to hit Morgan Rielly, but Morgan gets the puck across the ice to Dryden Hunt, who scores to tie the game, 46 seconds later.
Then, Brandon Montour gets an interference penalty against John Tavares, so in the first three minutes we get two goals and a penalty. The Leafs power play gets some time to set up and attack, but they’re unable to score against the Panthers penalty kill.
Bobrovsky took a Matthews shot right off the dome pic.twitter.com/HR2XyJWdOM— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
The game slows down the excitement, settling into a regular hockey game, not one with goals and penalties every minute. The Maple Leafs get another power play opportunity when Sam Bennett is called for hooking Pierre Engvall.
There’s no goal on this one either, but Bobby McMann comes closest to scoring high but Bobrovsky gets his blocker just high enough to deny McMann his goal.
what a chance for Bobby McMann— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
robbed by the blocker pic.twitter.com/imb1HfjGkz
The Panthers take a third penalty when Gustav Forsling trips John Tavares, and finally someone scores!
Anton Lundell smacks a rebound into an open net to give the Florida Panthers a 2-1 lead.
Mitch Marner quickly gets a penalty for getting wrapped up around Eric Staal, but the Panther power play ends when Radko Gudas gets called for unsportsmanlike conduct after knocking Pierre Engvall into Bobrovsky, face washing him, and mouthing off to the refs.
Marners penalty ends shortly afterwards, giving the Leafs a full minute with the man advantage. The second power play unit hits the ice, and they out work the Panthers enough to get Alex Kerfoot the opportunity to tie the game.
2 goals for both teams.
Josh Mahura doesn’t want to end the first period with a tie, doesn’t want to keep this crowd rowdy, and just takes a shot from the blueline, through traffic, and hey, it goes in after deflecting off Carter Verhaeghe.
Shots are 14-7 for the Leafs.
The first period ends with the Leafs and Panthers pushing and shoving behinds the refs back as the clock ticked down. Everyone’s on edge, and there’s 40 more minutes to go.
The second period starts with Matthew Tkachuk high-sticking himself and Bobby McMann going off for two minutes.
Bobby McMann goes off for high sticking— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
Tkachuk's own stick gets him but so does McMann's pic.twitter.com/yAxDNz1DJW
On the penalty, Mitch Marner gets a shorthanded breakaway but Ekblad catches him just in time to get in the way of the goal.
The Panthers come back to the Leafs end, and Aleksander Barkov scores from the blue line, 4-2 Panthers and that’s it for Matt Murray, Ilya Samsonov comes in after Murray lets in four goals on eight shots.
The Maple Leafs continue to try and tied the game again, but Sergei Bobrovsky wants to prove us all wrong when we looked him starting his second game in two nights and laughed. He robs Alex Kerfoot of a chance:
Kerfoot could've had his second, good save pic.twitter.com/AHymnNmXGZ— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
These teams really don’t like each other, lots more pushing shoving, refs keeping players apart. The Maple Leafs get their sixth power play of the night when Ryan Lomberg is called for hooking Calle Järnkrok.
The Leafs take their time on this power play, getting lots of passes, lots of attempts, but they can’t get it past the Panthers PK, and they go 1/6.
It’s a sloppy game all around, the Leafs letting the Panthers go, Panthers taking random penalties.
failed drop pass, luckily Tavares gets back pic.twitter.com/tPYlWgzZzt— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
Bobrovsky is dialled in— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
even when the Leafs get their chances, he makes the saves pic.twitter.com/YKqCLPgA3F
Sam Bennett almost gets a penalty. He goes into the box, but before that Timothy Liljegren starts heading to the box thinking its him.
So what’s going on is Samsonov lost his stick, Pierre Engvall slid it over to him which isn’t allowed, then Sam Bennett and Liljegren got tangled up, whistles were blown. Bennett went to the box, Paul Maurice argued it, Bennett comes out, and in goes Liljegren, even though the replay shows Engvall had the penalty.
Bennett at first gets a penalty for clearing the stick— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
but now Liljegren is getting a penalty for sending the stick to Samsonov initially but it wasn't even him, it was Engvall lol pic.twitter.com/tPzELJGOVc
So, the Panthers get another power play. This is a very messy game from every which way. I’m having a hard time keeping up.
Keefe the strong "wtf is going on" expression pic.twitter.com/KNQ2N4p395— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
Ilya Samsonov made a save. Okay. That’s where it is. Leafs killed the penalty. Commercial break. Let’s all reset.
So. The pay that we come back into is a board battle in the corner, Nick Cousins cross checks Auston Matthews, neither are involved in the board battle? So Bunting takes offense to this, tackles someone, and then we get a pile up scrum.
Montour cross-checks Matthews— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
Matthews trips Montour
Bunting activates pic.twitter.com/QmSTd58IUF
Cousins and Marc Staal go to the box for Florida, Matthews and Bunting go for Toronto.
Then Zach Aston-Reese goes off the ice for roughing Radko Gudas, which was less roughing and more stopping Gudas from being Gudas.
Gudas gets low and sticks the hip out on Engvall— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
Aston-Reese has something to say about it pic.twitter.com/oDIUVBLyeh
As the clock ticks down, the penalties expire, and coming out of the box ZAR screams down the ice with the puck and Gudas destroys ZAR with a hit, sending him into the net. ZAR thinks he scored, but Gudas goes to the box instead.
Aston-Reese is taken hard to the net pic.twitter.com/fy7JrwMCMC— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
They review the play, no goal. I can't believe this is only the second period.
Face off in the Panthers end, seconds left on the clock and Auston Matthews scores after the Leafs execute a great play, with 1.1 seconds left.
Oh no, it can’t be that simple. Panthers claim the net was off its moorings when the puck went in, but Bob was the one who pushed it off, very clear. It’s a good goal because I don’t think anyone wanted to deal with the fall out of it being waived off.
Second period ends 4-3 Florida.
William Nylander gets a break away to start the third period, but Gustav Forsling catches up and shoves him down into the boards. To add to the chaos: Penalty Shot!
Rielly sends Nylander— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
goes hard into the boards pic.twitter.com/D2kUuhL8eZ
Sadly, Nylander tries the backhand and sends it too high, and it’s still 4-3.
Nylander can't convert on the penalty shot— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
sends the puck high pic.twitter.com/wXrSFGIsaR
The Maple Leafs don’t let the energy of scoring at the end of the last period go to waste, Matthews, Tavares, get some close calls, and make some amazing plays.
Then the game gets tied. William Nylander deflects a puck into the net off his head to break his goalless drought. 4-4 All.
WILLIAM NYLANDER— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
now that's using your head! pic.twitter.com/q4K7caOkPq
Ilya Samsonov isn’t letting his team down after coming in for relief. He made two amazing saves in the third to keep the game nice and tight.
The Maple Leafs pen the Panthers in their own end, Radko Gudas gets his ankles broken a couple times, and a nice shot gets off, but no goal. Bobrovsky and Samsonov are dueling goalies to keep this game tied.
Tavares is due, another quality scoring chance pic.twitter.com/lYxcREezfc— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
Everyone seems to be calming down a bit, and the game settles into back and forth rushes up and down the ice. The refs are saving their whistles for something especially egregious.
would've been such a good play but the pass from Nylander got deflected pic.twitter.com/XOpjdHx0AH— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
No goals after the header, we’re off to overtime.
The Panthers are winless in extra innings, going 0-3 this season while the Leafs are 3-6.
Matthews and Marner team up to come close to tying it but a Bobrovsky pokecheck sends the puck away. William Nylander however, makes up for flubbing his penalty shot and one hands the puck around the entire Panthers defence, around Bob, into the net, and then falls over in victory.
WILLIAM NYLANDER— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 18, 2023
WE'RE IN STYLE! OVERTIME WINNER! pic.twitter.com/L6Fomypl16
Toronto Maple Leafs win this game 5-4 in overtime!
This game was, to be crude, a shitshow. I can’t sum it up any better than that. Fights, penalties, penalty shots, arguments, incorrect players penalized, goalies getting pulled and the Leafs trailing while doubling on shots.
What can you take away from this?
The Leafs next game is Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets*. I hope whoever recaps doesn’t spend all night making the same jokes they’ve made since the Thrashers moved north. Or maybe.
See you then!
Update: the reverse angle on the goal celebration: