New York Rangers goalie Alexander Georgiev must be auditioning for a role in Pink Floyd's, ‘The Wall’ because he was one in a 2-1 OT upset victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, at Scotiabank Arena Saturday.
He made 55 saves against the Leafs in a New York February 10th and while facing 45 attempts this time, didn’t have to be quite as spectacular.
Toronto certainly assisted him in that regard missing a number of open cages that made life a little easier for the Broadway back up.
Auston Matthews alone missed two or three gaping holes that are normally in the back of the net; 34 left the ice shaking his head at times.
The Leafs, clearly the better team, held a distinct advantage in zone control but as they have found on many occasions this season, its one thing to have the puck, but if it ends up in your net more often, the results won’t be in your favour.
They have focused on play without the puck the last few games and while the effort is there, it hasn’t shown up on the scoreboard.
With Boston winning again, the Leafs must now forget about home ice and prepare for opening on the road, dealing with their 'Achilles heel' the last few years, TD Garden, in Boston.
But before jumping the gun on that match-up, securing not only third place but also a spot in the dance is the first order of business. They do hold a 10-point lead over Columbus for the final spot on the slim chance Montreal over comes the 7-point deficit for a shot at the Bruins. The possibility of this happening isn’t as far fetched, as it seems with Montreal hosting Toronto in the final game of the season.
The close checking game didn’t offer a lot of excitement outside of a few Toronto misses but what has become more apparent is opponent’s willingness to take shots at the Leafs star players. John Tavares and Auston Matthews are prime targets with teams taking liberties knowing the push-back isn’t there. Tavares took a nasty crosscheck from Mark Staal stunning the star center who left the ice cautiously. Numerous Rangers tried to run the speedy forwards which is a problem playing teams out of the playoff race who take chances they never would if it mattered. Maybe if some of these New York players showed that kind of heart and bravery when it counted, they’d be in a better playoff position.
Toronto better tighten their belts and be prepared for this type of belligerent play going forward because skill aside, it’s the one advantage teams hold over them.
There are 7 games left on the schedule with the next 3 against non-playoff contending teams followed by four who are, thus a great time to build some momentum. Otherwise it could be a long summer for Leafs Nation.