It’s safe to say the Leafs needed this one. It’s also safe to say the Leafs need to be consistently playing like they can beat their likely first round playoff opponent, but consistency is a problem for another day, and for now we can enjoy the Leafs outlasting the Lightning in a 2-1 victory.
It was a victory achieved through star power, as Matthews and Nylander continued to build on their impressive goal totals, both Tavares and Marner chipped in with 2 assists, Freddie Andersen, and even Rielly managed 21 minutes of ice time in a game we didn’t know he’d be in until this morning.
Vasilevskiy went one way, and Nylander capitalized pic.twitter.com/xpdsO9AVCf
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 10, 2020
The Road to 50 continues!
Auston Matthews puts the Leafs up 2-1 pic.twitter.com/Quz2Rgy7ZL
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 11, 2020
If we’re going to pump the breaks on the good times, the Leafs had a very strong start that tapered off as the game went on. Also, while acknowledging that goals are goals, the Leafs were ultimately outscored 1-0 at 5 on 5, though having the power play working felt pretty darn good.
The win leaves the Leafs with a 78.5% playoff chance, according to Money Puck, so that’s a 5% bump up from this morning. Both the Leafs and the Panthers aren’t playing again until Thursday. The Leafs facing the Predators, that are making a strong playoff push, and the Panthers with a challenging Western opponent of their own with the Dallas Stars.
Maybe one game isn’t enough to inspire confidence in a playoff push, especially when that game was largely just one really good period, but it’s a step in the right direction.