There’s something special about Tyler Bozak scoring a huge, highlight reel goal in such a significant game for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
If you frequented Twitter during some of the franchise’s darker days, Bozak was a polarizing figure, drawing the ire of some stats-minded people who believed that he was placed in too much of an elevated role.
Even if such a thought was agreeable, the bile directed at Bozak was at times jarring, especially since it was a coach’s decision.
While a lot of key figures from that time are gone now, Bozak’s still around, but it’s a happier situation. So there he was on Thursday, scoring a fantastic all-versus-one goal against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Some late drama meant that Bozak’s marker wasn’t the game-winner, but the Leafs held on for a crucial 4-2 win tonight, managing to do so in regulation. You may notice from that Bozak clip that Frederik Andersen began the sequence making some tough saves, holding the pattern of his recent strong play:
With the Islanders in action tonight, it’s possible that this could change, but at the moment the Maple Leafs climbed back into the East’s second wild card spot at 74 standings points. Beating the Flyers without even handing them a charity point also means keeping Philly locked in at 70.
Update: The Lightning and Islanders won their respective games, so the Isles move back ahead of the Leafs.
About a month remains in the 2016-17 season, so there could be more twists and turns. At the moment, this seems like a big win, and Bozak scored a key goal.
As much as this breakthrough campaign is about ahead-of-schedule rookies like Auston Matthews, it must be a treat for Bozak and other guys who spent their formative years languishing on mediocre or even lousy teams.
(And, hey, Nazem Kadri pitched in the empty-netter.)