Devils hand Leafs their seventh straight loss

Devils scorers: James van Riesmdyk (21)
Leafs scorers: Adam Larsson (2)
Goalies: Schneider (Win), 64:52 minutes played, 29 saves, 1 GA, Bernier (Loss), 64:43 minutes played, 22 saves, 1 GA

The Toronto Maple Leafs were back in action after a long break due to the All-Star Game in Ohio and were set to take on the New Jersey Devils. The Leafs last played on January 21st against the Ottawa Senators, who handed them a 4-3 loss.

As the first period got underway, the Leafs didn’t seem lethargic and didn’t fall into their common habit of allowing a goal in the opening minutes. But with neither team able to find the back of the net, the game was scoreless as the period expired.

The second period was relatively uneventful, but the Leafs were keeping pace with the Devils and were generating many scoring chances. It was clear that they were close to having the momentum shift in their favour and came close to taking the lead on several occasions, with one puck hitting the crossbar.

It was looking more and more like the game would need over time to decide a winner, but with just eight minutes left in the third, James van Riemsdyk finally scored the game’s first goal. The Devils were determined to stay in the game and although Jonathan Bernier stopped Michael Cammalleri on a breakaway with just four minutes remaining, Adam Larsson tied the game late in regulation.

It was all Leafs as the two teams headed into over time and Morgan Rielly came close to scoring the winning goal several times, but the game needed a shootout to decide a winner.

Scott Gomez was up first but missed on his shot. He was followed by Mike Santorelli, who was also unsuccessful. Jacob Josefson scored the first goal of the shootout, but Tyler Bozak couldn’t tie it up. Patrik Elias had no trouble putting the puck past Bernier, giving his team the 2-1 win.

Leafs coach Peter Horachek spoke to the media after the game about the frustrating over time loss. “We had plenty of chances, we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities and its frustrating when you get down to the shootout, it feels like a loss, but as a coach, it’s a point.”

The Leafs will face the Arizona Coyotes at the ACC on Thursday evening.