Recap: Toronto Maple Leafs v.s. New York Rangers
Now that’s adversity, exactly what’s needed come playoff time.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were on a rollercoaster ride Monday night against the New York Rangers.
First, they seemed to be in control; about to cruise to an easy victory, up 2-0 with some beauty goals by players who need to step up.
JVR scored first, cleaning up some garbage in front of the net: his forte, and a great talent to have in the gritty playoffs. Then, Kadri stepped up, setting up newcomer O’Byrne for his first goal as a Leafs player.
Those, JVR and Kadri, are two guys who we need to step up with Lupul still out with injury. But, not all as perfect in Leafs land Monday night.
After taking a 2-0 lead, the Leafs began to collapse – in a very similar way as their last game against the Rangers, when they threw away a lead in the third to lose – it was one player driving the spike into their heart.
Last time it was former Rangers forward Marian Gaborik who killed the Leafs, netting four points in the win. This time, it was Rick Nash.
Nash made it 2-1 for the Leafs with his first. Down the rollercoaster we go. Then back up, taking a 3-1 lead, thanks to Kessel no less (about time).
That gave the buds a 3-1 lead going into the third. They were looking set to win. Then came Nash, again.
Nash made the Leafs look foolish on his second goal, cutting to the net hard, streaking by a handful of weak Leafs, to bury a beauty by Reimer, who kept the Leafs in it, again. Then another defensive breakdown allowed the Rangers to tie it 3-3.
But wouldn’t you know – on top of JVR and Kadri – here comes Kessel, bearing down, to bury his own rebound soon after.
4-3 Leafs, the final – because the Leafs didn’t rollover.
The boys took a breath, gathered themselves – multiple times – and pulled out the win Monday night in the first of back-to-back games against the Rangers.
Now that’s setting the tone – both for their next game Wednesday and for the playoffs. The Leafs have not been in the post-season in nearly a decade, but they sure played like they have been there recently Monday.
Adversity is needed to win playoff rounds, and ultimately, the Stanley Cup.
Let’s just remember, once you’re in, anyone can win. Do I even have to mention the recent eighth place Cup winners?
I think not.
Let's just hope the Leafs can repeat this performance when they head to New York to play the Rangers again in two days.
Go Leafs Go. Cheers