A blown third-period lead. A shootout loss.
The refrain has become all-too-familiar for the Maple Leafs, who dropped a 3-2 decision to their Atlantic Division rival Ottawa Senators on Saturday at Air Canada Centre. After a 65-minute deadlock, the game needed the gimmicky skills competition for a decision.
Ottawa forward Tom Pyatt got the better of Toronto netminder Frederik Andersen in the fourth round for the decisive goal.
Leafs coach Mike Babcock had no explanation for his team’s dismal 1-6 shootout record on the season.
“Maybe the other goalies are good, maybe we’re not any good at it,” Babcock said. “We work on it every single pregame skate. It’s just something we’ll have to get better at obviously because we’ve left points.”
Bobby Ryan had the only goal of the first period, deflecting a point shot from Marc Methot past Andersen for his tenth tally of the year.
The Leafs evened the game just before the midway point of the second frame when their lethal power play connected yet again. Tyler Bozak finished a tic-tac-toe passing play from James van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri to get Toronoto on the board.
Toronto took the lead on a third period tally by Matt Martin, after Nazem Kadri’s initial shot hit Martin’s stick and squeaked through the pads of Senators goaltender Mike Condon. While it appeared that the Leafs would be successful at protecting the lead – minimizing Ottawa’s shots on goal and scoring chances over the final two periods – Martin Marincin was whistled for a delay of game penalty.
On the ensuing power play, with Condon on the Ottawa bench, Mike Hoffman converted, forcing overtime.
After a scoreless extra session, both Ryan, and Mitch Marner, scored for their respective teams. Marner’s goal went to a lengthy video review before officials determined that he neither stopped his forward progress, nor interfered with Condon, upholding the on-ice call.
“I think we played really good until the shootout,” Andersen said, “I think everything but the shootout was great – obviously it’s a little bit of a coin flip when you get there. Aside from that we played great.”
van Riemsdyk-Bozak- Marner