For the first time since Jan. 9 and only the second time in 2015, the Toronto Maple Leafs won a hockey game.
They ended an 11-game losing streak on Saturday night, an accomplishment that probably won’t be tarnished by the fact that it came against the lowly Edmonton Oilers. At least, it probably won’t tarnish it for the Leafs’ players and executives, who must feel an incredible sense of relief right now.
(Brendan Shanahan looked that way when shown in the press box, at least.)
Fittingly, it was this close to being a perfect victory, but Luke Gadzic scored with seconds remaining to spoil James Reimer’s shutout bid. Still, a 5-1 victory prompted cheers from the home crowd.
MORE: Click here for Morgan Rielly’s stupendous goal.
The Leafs would have to pull off a momentous run to make this more than a mere face-saving victory. Reimer seems to have some belief that Toronto can do just that:
This morning James Reimer said: "I know if we play like we can we'll win 10 in a row." Imagine that?
They have a long, long way to go for that to be anything more than wishful thinking. Still, a win’s a win, and this one was a fairly impressive one in that. At least after a pretty weak overall first period.
Lindy Ruff isn’t unfamiliar with the feeling of losing a frustrating game in Buffalo, but Saturday’s defeat had a uniquely irritating tint to it.
Ruff’s Dallas Stars lost to his former team the Buffalo Sabres – aka a squad that’s been called “historically inept” – by a score of 3-2 tonight. Worst yet, the Stars failed to even grab a standings point in overtime or via a shootout.
You’d think it was an ideal night to get a little confidence for befuddled backup Anders Lindback. That wasn’t the case, as the Sabres generated a 3-0 lead about six minutes into the second period, a lead that they were able to hold onto for the win.
Jhonas Enroth was one of the standouts, stopping 38 out of 40 shots. Chris Stewart continues to quietly heat up, too, grabbing an assist on all three goals.
It will go down as a bitter loss for Dallas any way you slice it, but don’t blame Tyler Seguin. He scored a goal and fired 10 shots on goal while winning more than half of his faceoffs. John Klingberg stood out too, generating two assists.
Seguin had 20 shot attempts, 10 shots on goal — and scored only once. #Sabres#Stars
The Toronto Maple Leafs are minutes from breaking their harrowing losing streak against the Edmonton Oilers with a 5-0 lead. If you want a moment that symbolizes this slum-breaking evening, look no further than Morgan Rielly’s mind-blowing goal:
Toronto’s still in a bad way as far as the 2014-15 season goes (the word tank was floating around tonight, and not just in regard to Edmonton), but moments like these might make a few people feel a little better about the future.
James Reimer’s biased opinion:
Reimer calls Rielly marker the "goal of the year".