Well, that was a roller coaster of a game.
The Toronto Maple Leafs took an early 2-0 lead against the Dallas Stars and the game seemed all but over in the first period. Then the Stars went on a scoring frenzy and tied up the game before the first intermission, and then scored another two in the second period.
The Leafs fought back though and tied the game up themselves. Then, the two teams traded a pair of goals, and it all came down to a shootout that concluded with Toronto as the 6-5 victor.
By taking the game to overtime, the Stars picked up a point and leapt over the Colorado Avalanche to retake the first wild-card spot. Unfortunately, the Avalanche have two games in hand on the Stars, who also have the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames nipping at their heels.
At first, the game seemed like it was over before it began. About four and a half minutes in, Kari Lehtonen badly misplayed the puck, which gave Nazem Kadri an easy goal for the lead:
A gift for @43_Kadri. pic.twitter.com/Em8O68634F— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 14, 2018
Moments later, a face-off win by the Maple Leafs in the offensive zone led to a shot from the point. The rebound got caught up in the skates and sticks of several players, and James van Riemsdyk put it in for a 2-0 Toronto lead.
The next ten minutes contained a couple of chances for both teams, but was otherwise uneventful. With just over five minutes left, Roman Polak shoved Alexander Radulov into the Toronto crease, which led to a cross-checking penalty against Polak and a goaltender interference penalty against Radulov.
As strange as it seems, this is where the Stars’ luck turned around. Now 4-on-4 hockey, the Stars won the face-off and got the puck to Tyler Seguin in the corner, at which point he slid it straight to Jamie Benn for an easy one-timer.
About a minute and a half later, the Stars experienced a severe case of déjà vu: Greg Pateryn made a slap shot from the point, which Radek Faksa got his stick on and deflected it to the top corner of the net for the Stars’ second goal of the night. Tie game.
The rest of the period went by without much fanfare and the Stars headed into the locker room all tied up instead of down by two.
Shots: Dallas 9, Toronto 11
Score: Dallas 2, Toronto 2
Dallas came into the second period swinging, and had five shots on net in just the first two minutes. A little less than five minutes in, Seguin picked up a loose puck and made a shot on Andersen. The puck bounced off the pad and Seguin hopped on his own rebound, as he found the back of the net with his second shot to put the Stars up 3-2.
The Stars continued to put the pressure on the Leafs, and outshot them 11-1. Frederik Andersen was pulled for Curtis McElhinney about halfway into the game due to an upper body injury. With close to six minutes left in the period, Devin Shore sent a sweet pass over to Remi Elie, who slammed it in past McElhinney for his first goal in the last 23 games.
The rest of the period flew by, with the overwhelming offensive presence by the Stars in the second paying off in the form of a two-goal lead.
Shots: Dallas 25, Toronto 12
Score: Dallas 4, Toronto 2
The final twenty started off with the Stars protecting the lead, with all shots on net going in favor of the Maple Leafs. About five minutes in, Lehtonen was able to stop a shot from the Leafs, but James van Riemsdyk was able to get a stick on the rebound and found the back of the twine to cut the Stars’ lead in half.
Halfway in, William Nylander forced a turnover and then drew a hooking penalty by Stephen Johns, which sent Toronto onto the power play for the first time of the night. James van Riemsdyk took advantage of the opportunity to pot his third goal of the night and tied up the game 4-4.
The Stars would not let the Leafs roll over them, however; shortly after winning the face-off, Tyler Seguin once again pounced on a loose puck. This time, he slid across the ice to Brett Ritchie, who one-timed the puck past McElhinney and put Dallas back in the lead.
As the period began to wind down, the Leafs kept putting the pressure on Lehtonen, and earned several quality scoring chances. Toronto pulled McElhinney with close to two minutes left in the period, while the puck never left the Stars’ defensive zone. Patrick Marleau managed to put the puck past Lehtonen with only 15 seconds left, which sent the game to overtime.
Shots: Dallas 28, Toronto 30
Score: Dallas 5, Toronto 5
About two minutes into 3-on-3, Mattias Janmark turned over the puck and got a breakaway. He wasn’t able to put the puck in the net, but he managed to draw a hooking penalty by Mitch Marner, and put the Stars on the power play. The Stars had several quality shots, including a shot by Jason Spezza that knocked off McElhinney’s mask, but failed to score.
The Leafs got a few more chances themselves, but the overtime period eventually ended and the team headed into the shootout.
Final Shots: Dallas 35, Toronto 33
Tyler Bozak - Goal
Tyler Seguin - No Goal
James van Riemsdyk - No Goal
Alexander Radulov - No Goal
Mitch Marner - Goal
The Dallas Stars will take on the Senators in Ottawa on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT.