The Toronto Maple Leafs won last night in overtime against the Edmonton Oilers with a goal from Dave Bolland. The game looked like it would end up a 5-4 regulation win for the Oilers until Joffrey Lupul tied the game at 5 a piece with only 31 seconds left in regulation.
In an exciting, back-and-forth game the Leafs were able to come from behind again to get a win. Coming into the game tonight, Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier had never started three games in a row before, but his play had been excellent so far. Bernier came into the game with a save percentage of .974, but after giving up five goals on 31 shots his average has dropped to a more reasonable .946.
The Leafs had a couple defensive lapses which allowed the Oilers to take the lead and add to it, but the Leafs did not let them run away with the lead. Every time the Oilers put a point onto the board the Leafs answered.
Nazem Kadri scored the first Leafs goal of the night, sniping the puck over Devan Dubnyk’s shoulder to tie the game at 1.
James van Riemsdyk got his first goal of the night off of a tip in shot by Cody Franson, and JVR would not stop. In the third period with the Leafs down 4-3, JVR scored a wrap- around goal that looked like it could send the game to overtime.
Then disaster struck and Ryan Smyth gave the Oilers a 5-4 lead with less than ten minutes to play. The Leafs had some difficulty getting Bernier pulled, but they were able to generate one last rush which allowed Lupul to bury his second goal of the night with less than a minute of play remaining.
The Leafs did not slow down in overtime as they generated a 3 on 1 with Bolland, Franson, and Mason Raymond carrying the puck in on Dubnyk. There were a couple nice passes and a rebound was generated only to have Bolland leap on it and bury it behind Dubnyk giving the Leafs their fifth win of the season.
Although the Leafs gave up a number of goals this game, their ability to score goals, especially when they needed them kept them in the game. If Edmonton had been able to put a couple on the board before the Leafs answered, this game could have gone differently.
Lupul now sits tied for second place against lead scores with 8 points, only one point behind the league leader Sidney Crosby.
JVR has also shown his ability to go to the net and get ugly goals as well as pretty ones. JVR has the chance to put up 30 goals if he can stay healthy and continues to play with Phil Kessel.
“My teeth are going to be ground down by the 20-game mark if we continue to play the way we did tonight as far as exchanging chances and mistakes,” said Coach Randy Carlyle in a post-game press conference.
“It was a game of mistakes and each team seemed to capitalize on one another’s mistakes,” Carlyle said. “The fortunate part for us is we were on the right end of it.”
The Leafs will need to tighten up their defensive game and figure out where Morgan Rielly stands. He can play a couple more games then must either be sent back to junior or given leave to play the rest of the year.
The Leafs’ next game will be Tuesday Oct. 15 against the Minnesota Wild in Toronto. The game will begin at 7 p.m. EST.