Four more games, and this is the big one until they’re all big ones.

First Period

Woot! Mitch Marner opens the scoring with a really snappy little shot.

1-0 Leafs

First shot on goal of the game (the one the Panthers rang off the crossbar counts as a miss).

Kyle Clifford (no, really) almost makes it 2-0. This looks like a very different game to the debacle in the Everglades.

The crowd is a lovely mix of mostly Panther red with a lot of Leafs blue, so when Wayne Simmonds is tripped you get whistles and cheers for no call. And when Jack Campbell makes a save, there’s a soup chant, but the Florida hits get cheers. It’s fun, I like this, and I wish the NHL had more of this.

Colin Blackwell on the top line for now.

Really lovely cycle by the Tavares line, setup mostly by Alex Kerfoot, but no goal. Clifford is up on the Kämpf line and they keep it going.

William Nylander is up on the top line, so the mixed up middle six makes sense now.

After a bit of a defensive disaster from Timothy Liljegren ruins a zone exit, the Leafs get the puck back again, David Kämpf carries it up and Justin Holl scores the goal, just as you’d draw it up.

2-0 Leafs

John Tavares and Ilya Mikheyev get a great rush chance, and  these offensive counter rushes are what the Lightning could prevent, while the Panthers just assume they’ll get you back after rather than prevent them in advance.

Radko Gudas dumps Clifford and takes a penalty, so the Leafs get the first power play which will span the intermission if they don’t score quickly.

Or not. Auston Matthews takes a hooking call, so it’s four-on-four.



Second Period

Matthews comes out of the box and nearly kicks the puck to the Panthers for a scoring chance. Not the best PK I’ve ever seen preceded that mistake.

Maxim Mamin gets a roughing penalty from a scrum, and the Leafs go to the power play again.

The power play seems to be a get Matthews a goal vehicle, and I’m here for that. It’s not working, but keep trying. And they do, going well beyond the first minute.

Campbell stops Mason Marchment on that get you back rush of the Panthers, but the rebound goes to Sasha Barkov and in it goes.

2-1 Leafs

What in the name of all that’s unholy is going on here!

Ilya Mikheyev in a wrestling match/fight with Sam Bennett. It’s the loopiest not a fight I’ve ever seen.

Leafs are overpassing to Matthews just a tough here. They should let someone else shoot too.

Toronto take a penalty when Jonathan Huberdeau is just too fast for TJ Brodie.

Well that was quick. Claude Giroux has arrived on the Florida power play, and everyone should be worried.

Tie Game

Leafs survive the remainder of the period by practising not making good passes or clean zone exits.


Leafs have had a lot of chances. There’s no reason to think that will change.

Third Period

Bit of a slow start to this one, but now it’s Spiderman up the ice, and Spiderman back.

The broadcast is showing another failed zone exit by Liljegren, and this is an issue. I know you all love him and his on-ice stats, and I’m fairly impressed with him, but look at him with the eye you’d use on another team’s rookie.

Potential isn’t enough in the playoffs. No matter how real it is.

On the other side of the coin, here’s a guy having a very good game:

Bobrovsky with another save on Matthews. Bob is mildly goalie-ing the Leafs tonight.

Engvall goes in one-on-five and keeps it alive for the line change.

This game has had OT smell on it since about 10 minutes to go, and I just have to say, overtime in the final week of the season should be illegal.


Not the best OT ever from either team.

Brandon Montour wins it on a — wait for it — counter rush with Mason Marchment.