Game 3: Holl’s Late Winner Enough to Beat Senators

Justin Holl celebrates goal

    On Saturday morning, devastating news hit that goaltender Matt Murray left the morning skate early with an injury. It was certainly an interesting day to be a Maple Leafs fan. Most fans were just starting their weekend when Murray’s injury hit the news. A tough blow to a Maple Leafs team that was already in an odd spot at the position, but losing the team’s starter on a gameday is something that really took the fanbase by storm. After evaluations were completed, it was official that goaltender Matt Murray would be placed on the long-term injured reserve with an abductor injury. Once it was official that Murray wouldn’t be able to play and Samsonov would start, it was time for Toronto to get locked in on tonight’s game vs. Ottawa. 

    In the first period, things were certainly quiet from a Maple Leafs perspective. Not really much going on offensively, and some poor breakouts led to some turnovers. Around the mid-way part of the opening period, a penalty was called on Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner for holding. A goal from the Senators young forward, Shane Pinto, put Ottawa up early at Scotiabank Arena. After Shane’s first goal of the season, the Leafs started to jump back into it. The blue and white started putting pucks on net more instead of trying to play more complicated. The team went into the first intermission leading the shots totals 13-11 despite being down a goal. 

    In the second frame of this one, it was Ottawa who had the cleaner start. The Leafs struggled to string passes together, and it started to let the frustration show. Both fans and players were starting to feel it until a breakthrough finally went in the way of the Maple Leafs. A hooking penalty to Sens forward Tim Stutzle began to get the crowd back into it. A power play in a one-goal game with all the star power the Leafs have, being at home seemed like this could be the moment. But instead, this was the opposite, and it completely sucked the momentum out of the building after the team struggled to find some shooting lanes. After the power-play opportunity was finished, the blue and white finally started getting things going. A beautiful shot from Jake Muzzin found the stick of Leafs center David Kampf to tie the game deep into the second. The arena finally started to have more life as we looked to the third period of a tie game in the battle of Ontario. 

    As the third period kicked off, the Maple Leafs finally started to have the start they were looking for, Peppering Ottawa goaltender Anton Forsberg early. It wasn’t until just over the mid-way point that the Maple Leafs finally broke through Forsberg in the third. A nifty power-play goal by Leafs forward William Nylander put the team up 2-1 with just over seven minutes to go. The lead didn’t last too long, though, as newly signed Senators forward Claude Giroux found the equalizer less than two minutes after. Once the game was tied again late, the Senators started to push back. Things were a bit stressful as a supporter of the Maple Leafs until an unlikely hero emerged. Leafs defenseman Justin Holl scored the eventual game-winning goal with barely under two minutes remaining. An odd goal for the Leafs blue liner as he chipped in off the rush and picked up the opportunity from Leafs forward Mitch Marner, who was credited with the assist. After Justin Holl’s late winner, the Maple Leafs closed out a tough one at Scotiabank Arena, winning the game 3-2. 

    Despite not having their best efforts in this one, there were still some bright spots from the Leafs victory. Honorable mention to goaltender Ilya Samsonov who came in tonight unexpectedly, saving 26 shots and only giving up two. After all, it was a fun night at Scotiabank Arena; it’s not every day you get to see a Justin Holl goal, let alone a game-winner. The Maple Leafs don’t play until Monday night now as they prepare to host the Arizona Coyotes. 

Thanks for reading! For more hockey coverage, follow me on Twitter @JAns8lmo

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Joshua Anselmo

A hockey mind that's always looking at new and insightful ways to bring different perspectives of the game we all love.

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