Finally, game 82. The Toronto Maple Leafs essentially locked up their playoff position and opponent in February but the NHL decided to make them play out the season, much to our frustration.
After 81 games, and a hard playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, what was there to play for?
William Nylanders 40th goal of the season.
Mitch Marner wants 100 points.
Auston Matthews hitting 300 goals in his career.
Matthew Knies getting his first goal.
Personal milestones is what tonight was about, but no one told Jaroslav Halak this.
20 minutes go by and nothing happens. Leafs get 7 shots, Rangers get 5. Okay, some things happened but nothing of note.
Then the second period saw the shots reversed. 5 for Toronto. 7 for New York. The difference? One goes in for the Rangers.
Almost one for Toronto. Almost.
Then! the third period. Everyone gets sick of almosts and chances and starts putting the puck in the net.
First, Timothy Liljegren ties the game at one each and breaking the shutout. This officially means the Maple Leafs did not get shutout once this season.
Then the Rangers think they've taken back the lead, but it's called back for offsides.
Then, the Rangers do get the lead back thanks to Artemi Panarin.
William Nylander doesn't like that so he fights his way through the corner, across to the net, and scores his 40th goal of the season.
The Maple Leafs take a 3-2 lead when Noel Acciari gets his 100th NHL point on a late lead taking goal.
With the goalie pulled, the Rangers think they've tied the game with seconds remaining, Filip Chytil scores with Luke Schenn in the penalty box. However it's deemed a kick, overturned, and the horn goes.
And with that, the 2022-23 Toronto Maple Leafs season is complete. The Maple Leafs finish the season with a 50-21-11 record,
second place in the Atlantic Division, second in the Eastern Conference, and a top three team overall in the NHL. We don't have a start date for game one of the playoffs yet, but Wednesday or Thursday would be a safe bet for game one.
[Editor's note] that was not correct. The season isn't even over yet, and I don't think the Devils game was even over when that was published. The Leafs are fourth in the east, and there are two games on Friday, which can't affect their overall standing of fourth. The Leafs playoff series starts on Tuesday.
Thank you all for following the season with us, and following us to our new home.
Let's get passionate for the playoffs, it's now the season for blind optimism!
Go Leafs Go!