The Toronto Maple Leafs have had trouble accumulating points all season. Tomas Fleischmann has had trouble accumulating points this month, which is to say he has had none. The Leafs spent the night being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but Tomas came through with his biggest point of the season, scoring the overtime game-winner following a game full of Beninati-and-Laughlin insistences that he has done well vs. the Lightning pretty much forever. Perhaps he took advantage of some of that loosey-goosey hockey Laughlin accused Tampa of playing.
In any case, Tomas came through with the goal, fed nicely by Brooks Laich, still fresh off his 20th goal on an amazing shorthanded sequence in the first period. Of course it’s foolish to mention that goal without first mentioning Cristobal Huet’s amazing penalty-killing save moments before. Such was the grandeur of the save I commented to Mrs. DCO that it could have been the save that clinched his contract extension. Let’s hope so. Let’s also ignore the fact that Jeff Halpern scored moments later on the very same power play.
Well, we were a little wrong with a couple of our prognostications, namely the Ovechkin-pulling-away-in-the-scoring-race prediction and the tied-with-Boston, ready-to-take-on-the-Canadiens-in-the-first-round prediction. No matter. Each was merely delayed, like Judgment Day was merely delayed in Terminator 2.
While everyone knows Alex eschews personal gains in favor of team wins (no more perfect example than tonight), let’s look at the scoring race anyhow. Evgeni Malkin picked up one point tonight, to put him still four points behind Ovechkin (no goals or assists for Sidney, though I’m sure each of his three shots on goal in his triumphant return were positively mesmerizing and further proof he is the Greatest Hockey Player Ever For All Time). Not a bad place to be for one who is chasing a scoring title and an MVP trophy. Of course, second intermission guest and respected opinionater Phil Esposito called Ovechkin the MVP “without a doubt…even if [they] don’t make the playoffs he’s still the MVP. Love you, Phil.
The Caps are still two mere points back. It surely would have been nice to be tied at this point, but with Toronto’s whimperingly pathetic, silent fade into the offseason against the Bruins, it wasn’t meant to be. Not yet anyway.