Leaf scorers: Kessel (8), Holland (2), Panik (3), Polak (2), Komarov (1)
Ranger scorers: Kreider (4), Zuccarello (2), Hagelin (3), Nash (11)
Goalies: Bernier (Win), 60:00 minutes played, 31 saves, 4GA, Talbot (Loss), 58:28 minutes played, 31 saves, 5GA
An Original Six match up at the ACC on Saturday evening between the New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs got underway with an admirable pre-game Remembrance Day ceremony, which honoured Canadian war veterans. The Leafs were looking to bounce back from a shootout loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday evening, but still struggled to find their feet and allowed Chris Kreider to score the game’s first goal in the first minute of the game. It was the second consecutive game that the Leafs allowed a goal within the first minute of the first period.
The Leafs look unsettled after the early goal throughout most of the first, but found themselves on the two-man advantage just before the midway point of the period and tied the game at 1 on a goal from Phil Kessel. The goal seemed to inject some life into the Leafs and Peter Holland scored a shorthanded goal with less than six minutes remaining. Richard Panik followed with another goal just four minutes later, giving the Leafs a 3-1 lead. But the Rangers weren’t ready to let the game get away from them yet and Mats Zuccarello got his team within one in the final minute of the period.
Each team was generating a number of chances throughout the second and there were many end-to-end plays, but it was Carl Hagelin who was able to capitalize and tie the game for the Rangers. Although the Leafs were having a stronger offensive game than they had in their previous games, they couldn’t get on the board in the second and the game would remain tied 3-3 heading into the third.
It appeared as though the Leafs were having a strong start to the third and were putting the pressure on Cam Talbot, but Rick Nash got his team in front just five minutes into the period. The Leafs weren’t going to let the goal discourage them despite leading through much of the game and Roman Polak made it a tie game again just three minutes later. As the period passed the halfway point, members of Leafs nation were likely hoping that the game wouldn’t go into over time after a disastrous shoot-out against the Avalanche in their previous game. With just six minutes remaining, Leo Komarov scored his first goal of the season, giving the Leafs the 5-4 lead and victory.
Coach Randy Carlyle spoke of Komarov’s play in his post-game news conference. “He refuses to stop working. He enjoys coming to the rink and playing and he gives 110% in practice and in the games. He always seems to have a smile on his face. He’s a good guy to be around and he plays hard for his teammates.”
The Leafs will faceoff against Ottawa on Sunday, the rescheduled game that was postponed as a result of last month’s tragedy in the nation’s capital.