Leafs Charged with Attempted Murder, Escape with Win
Luckily for the Leafs Julie Beattie, a nurse from McMaster University Hospital (I hear that she walks and talks a little faster than her Brock counterparts), was in the stands as her quick reaction and CPR training saved the life of a fan that had just seen his team cough up a 4-1 lead for the second time in the past fortnight when Ryan Whitney buried his shot with just over four seconds remaining in the third.
Like that Sabres game a scant eight days ago, there is a lot of good to take away from this game. Andrew Raycroft played a very good game. The three goals could hardly be laid at his feet (in order their would be Kubina, Poni, and Poni/McCabe's fault) and his play through the first 55 minutes was what must be replicated tonight against the Rangers in order to keep the Leafs in the playoff picture. For those first 55 minutes the Leafs held a team that they had struggled against under control and had built a strong lead. And the biggest plus was the Leafs' reaction to losing their lead late. Instead of folding up their tent they came out and completely dominated the overtime period before Tomas Kaberle scored his second of the game on a long shot from the point. The Leafs certainly picked the perfect game in which to break their goose egg against the Pens.
Tonight the Leafs play their game in hand on the Habs as they travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the Rangers. Last night the Leafs received no help as the Rangers, Lightning, and Habs all won their games (Stupid Buffalo!). The season series stands at 2-0-1 in the Leafs favour including a 5-4 loss in overtime that featured a barnstorming third period by the good guys, a 9-2 blowout which saw Wellwood and Ponikarovsky tally five points, and a 2-1 nailbiter in one of Raycroft's best performances as his 37 saves featured a few of the spectacular variety. The Leafs will be facing a white-hot Henrik Lundqvist and the usual suspects (Jagr, Straka, Nylander) who will need to be shut down to give the Leafs a chance to not only leapfrog the Habs but tie the Rangers for 7th in the conference.