Third time is the opposite of a charm, I guess. Once again, the Toronto Maple Leafs found themselves tied at two heading into overtime, but unlike the previous pair of occasions, their opponents got the best of them, as the Columbus Blue Jackets walked away with a 3-2 victory. Here’s a quick look at what went down:

Highlights

Spreads

5v5 Possession: % of shots taken towards the net (Corsi, CF%) taken while the player is on the ice.

Game Score: A single-game performance metric created by Dom Luszczyszyn. Read about the methodology behind it here.

Fall of Rome Part 46

Roman Polak has now taken penalties in eight of his last ten games. He’s currently averaging fewer than two minutes killing penalties for every minute sitting in the penalty box. At this point, if his job is to be a penalty-killing specialist, I don’t know what he’s helping with.

Tipping Point

Some will say he’s helping put points up on the scoresheet, though, pointing to moments like this one. Now, I’m not sure if you can argue that this was completely drawn up, but he did still take the shot, and James Van Riemsdyk’s redirection was oh so very nice. JVR is now on pace for 34 goals on the year; if any of the pending UFAs are putting up a case for a payday, it’s him.

Bullseye Billy

The release that William Nylander puts on display for this goal is simply incredible. You can frame it and put it in a museum, but only if you can capture it, because it’s in and out of the net so quickly that a frame might not do it justice.

Trickle Down Goalconomics

The description here sounds meaner than it was meant to be; I don’t particularly blame Frederik Andersen, who was by and large excellent once again, for this goal. But it is unfortunate; two deflections lead to it crawling up behind him, along with him, and into the back of the net. Not to worry though, there are only a few minutes left and the Leafs are still up a goal, right?

Tape To Wrong Tape

I’m… not quite sure what Morgan Rielly’s thought process was here. For a guy that’s been nothing short of stellar all year, this is a tough one to give up. Rielly has all the time and space in the world to make a puck decision, with his team changing, and decides to hope for the miracle bomb to Patrick Marleau. On Saturday, his stretch pass concept worked brilliantly. Tonight, it cost them a regulation win.

Overtime

Let’s get to the main event now: the overtime goal. There’s a lot to unpack here, but first, we have the main tally. What we can see, if we keep our focuses airtight, is that William Nylander loafts a bit, loses track of Zach Werenski, follows Jake Gardiner into covering the pass, and leaves Artemi Panarin wide open to nearly kick the puck in (but get the stick blade involved just in time).

It’s a bit of an iffy play on both defenders parts, but especially on Nylander. But there’s a bit of context to give him vague credit for.

Before all that, though: I’d love some explanation on why this wasn’t called, well before we get to this sequence. I’m not sure about how clean the check was because we never saw a great angle of it, but we know for a fact that Rielly was nowhere close to possessing the puck, meaning Foligno intefered with him at the very least. Not to mention, he was one of four attackers on the ice at the time, having yet changed. Speaking of extra attackers.

What I think threw off Nylander was the extremely relaxed line change that the officials allowed Seth Jones and Zach Werenski to do. Werenski is up and even by the time Panarin is at the blue line, and well, before Jones is off the bench. Officially, refs get subjective ability to call a too many men call after five feet; we’re talking 30-40 feet in this still.

They don’t call it, Werenski gets the extra head start (and, for the sake of this rush, perhaps the better shot handedness), which leaves him in perfect position for Panarin to give-and-go with once he’s ready. You can’t fully complain because Toronto’s backcheckers should have done a better job here, but you do wonder if a better call could have been made. If nothing else, there’s just a dirty feeling about taking advantage of a line change window like that.

Coming Up Next

At least they got a point, right? I guess that’s something you can take out of this game; that and another solid effort from Travis Dermott (who led defencemen in possession for the second consecutive night), and the fact that Toronto seemed to have more control of the game than anybody really expected until the final minutes.

Their next game is on Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators. Hopefully, it’s not one they take lightly; the Sens are a sitting duck at the moment and that’s absolutely something that Toronto, due for a big push game at some point, need to take advantage of.

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