The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the awkward position of trying to give their players some rest before the playoffs, mixing in others who they may have to rely on as depth players in the postseason, while at the same time avoiding a late-season slump and hopefully avoiding injuries to key players in virtually meaningless regular-season games.
The Leafs accomplished some of their goals in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Monday, but the club’s inability to take advantage of numerous offensive opportunities was overshadowed by the loss of winger Nick Foligno, who left the game in the second period was what the club’s PR Twitter feed described as an upper-body injury.
Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe didn't have any update on the winger’s status after the game and said that they would not have any further information until the club practices on Wednesday.
Another thing to consider with Foligno here as he was tripped with a collision into the boards earlier in the period
The game featured Toronto a pair of odd goals by Toronto from long range (Morgan Rielly’s seeing-eye shot in the first period and Auston Matthews tip of a Jake Muzzin shot in the middle frame), but also was a display of the Leafs failing to convert on opportunities, as they went 0-for-3 on the power play, missed on two breakaways from Mitch Marner and William Nylander, missed a chance on an empty net by Ilya Mikheyev just prior to Phillip Danault’s tying goal late in regulation and most notably on Matthews and Marner’s two-on-zero breakaway in overtime.
“I thought we played (well) at 5-on-5. We find a way to get to two goals at 5-on-5, we didn't give up any. Obviously, special teams are the big difference in the game. Our penalty kill, power play, 5-on-6, 3-on-3, those are the situations that cost us today.” Keefe said after the game. “We had a number of opportunities in that first period to score a lot more than we did. We failed to do so. Had a couple other chances later in the game and then we have the puck on our stick on their side of the ice with their goalie out and that doesn't go for us either. Little things like that just didn't go for us today and that's why the result is what it is.”
Jack Campbell made a number of excellent stops on the night, including a stop on a shorthanded breakaway and an incredible right pad save on Artturi Lehkonen in the second period, but did allow the tying goal with 52 seconds left in the game.
“I thought we played well enough to win the game and then it comes down to a kind of fluky goal to tie it up and send it to overtime. That’s something that I work on a lot” Campbell said.. “ I’m not going to overthink it, but obviously would have been nice to get out of there after 60 with the win. I thought the guys played hard and we definitely could have won the game. We’re just going to bounce back and play really hard next game.”
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