That was all kinds of crazy, at times, between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, like a throwback to an era long gone by in hockey.
The two teams traded goals, and plenty of them. They traded big hits. They traded punches, with Matt Martin and Adam McQuaid meeting in a heavyweight bout. Martin left the game briefly, after he was knocked to the ice on a devastating punch at the end of the fight, but he did return in the third period.
By the time this chaos was all over, the Maple Leafs had survived the threat of yet another third-period collapse by defeating the Bruins 6-5 on Saturday.
That’s a big win for Toronto. They all are at this time of the season. For a young and talented team in the thick of the playoff battle, it ends a three-game losing streak. It also moves them one point behind Boston for third in the Atlantic Division and two points back of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wild card spot in the East.
It looked, at least midway through the second period, like the Maple Leafs would win this in a rout. William Nylander recorded the hat trick, which included this terrific goal for his first of the night, and they chased Tuukka Rask from the Bruins net with four goals on 14 shots.
The Bruins, though, didn’t go away.
They tied the game at 4-4 early in the third, conceded another Toronto goal and then came back to even the score once again, before James van Riemsdyk finally scored the deciding goal for the Maple Leafs with 1:36 remaining. The late goal denies Boston at least an important single point.
The Maple Leafs are on the road versus the New York Islanders on Monday. The Bruins now have four days off before they host San Jose on Thursday.
Bad news for the St. Louis Blues.
Forward Robby Fabbri left Saturday’s game early in the first period and hasn’t returned after suffering a lower-body injury on a hit from Pittsburgh Penguins forward Carter Rowney.
The hit occurred right along the boards at the bench, and Fabbri needed assistance going down the tunnel to the dressing room.
The 21-year-old Fabbri hasn’t returned to the game.
In 50 games this season, Fabbri has 11 goals and 29 points. The Blues had fallen behind the Penguins by a score of 3-0 in the second period.
Adam McQuaid and Matt Martin have a history of dropping the gloves against each other during their NHL careers.
They met again Saturday, after McQuaid threw a clean hit on Auston Matthews along the boards in the defensive end. Martin came off the bench on a line change and threw down with McQuaid in a heavyweight scrap at center ice.
While McQuaid returned, Martin was reportedly still in the dressing room once their respective fighting majors were up, after he was knocked to the ice with a devastating right from the Bruins defenseman.
If a player is “punched in the head (including any part of his face) by an ungloved fist during a fight,” the protocol calls for mandatory removal and testing, but only if he exhibits signs of being “slow to get up” or “clutches his head.”
It’s been the William Nylander Show in Boston tonight. However, that’s at the expense of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
Nylander, who scored a beauty goal in the first period, completed the hat trick in the second period, as the Toronto Maple Leafs took a 4-1 lead courtesy three goals in 1:46, stunning the Bruins and their home crowd.
That fourth Toronto goal meant the end of the night for Rask.
He allowed four goals on 14 shots, and has now allowed three or more goals in each of his last five starts.
Talk about some pretty passing on the Toronto Maple Leafs first goal of Saturday’s game in Boston.
Auston Matthews started the play in the neutral zone with a quick pass to Nazem Kadri and William Nylander finished it off with a sweet move to the forehand into a wide open net after he caught Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask going the other way.
That’s 11 goals for Nylander in his rookie season.
This is a big game for both clubs in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Bruins can put five points between them and the Maple Leafs with a regulation win tonight, while Toronto is trying to snap a three-game losing streak.
Related: Babcock still sees William Nylander as a center