If you’re a ‘glass is half-empty’ type of Leafs fan, you can’t help but feel frustrated at the team’s 6-5 overtime loss to Washington on Tuesday, a game in which the Leafs blew a two-goal lead for the fourth straight outing.
On the other hand, if you tend to think of the ‘glass as half-full’, then you feel great, not only about Toronto’s 6-1-3 record over the past 10 games, but more importantly, that Auston Matthews – the unquestioned face of the Leafs’ future – just keeps getting more phenomenal.
The newly-crowned NHL’s Rookie of the Month for December, and overtime hero in the Centennial Classic, made a highlight-reel, spectacular pass in the second period that led to Leo Komarov’s second period goal.
See for yourself:
Matthews now has 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in his last seven games.
Toronto’s first period dominance was again on display. The Leafs held a 3-2 lead after twenty minutes and chased Washington starter Braden Holtby from the game in favour of Phillip Grubauer.
Matthews’s sensational setup to Komarov in the middle frame appeared to give the visiting Leafs a comfortable two-goal cushion.
Comfortable, that is, unless you have been following the team over the past three months, and have at least 20/100 vision.
Almost on cue, defensive breakdowns led to two quick Capitals’ goals to even the score.
Toronto briefly reclaimed the lead on a splendid breakaway goal by Mitch Marner, who beat Grubauer between the pads for the go-ahead marker. However, John Carlson evened the affair yet again on a Capitals’ rush, finding his way through a maze of players in the ensuing pile-up in front of Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen.
It took all of 22 seconds for Alex Ovechkin to win the game for his team. Held scoreless throughout regulation, the man they call Ovie one-timed a pass from Carlson past Andersen for the game-winner.
The goal was the 19th career regular season overtime winner for Ovechkin, tying the Capitals’ captain with Jaromir Jagr for first on the NHL’s all-time list.
Toronto’s goal scorers were Nazem Kadri, Connor Brown, Frederik Gauthier, Komarov and Marner.
The Leafs have a day off tomorrow, then prepare for their next game in New Jersey on Friday.