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article imageToronto Maple Leafs win 2nd straight, put heat on Wings, Jackets

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 4, 2014 in Sports
Momentum is a big part of sport and can be altered by one win, one play. The Toronto Maple Leafs saw momentum going in the wrong direction in a recent 8-game losing slide but their 2nd straight win Thursday may signal it going in the right direction.
And at the right time.
In beating the arch-rival Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre, 4-3 in overtime, Toronto battled adversity. Sure, they were up 3-1 after two but it was against the NHL's best third period team, a club that is a leader in goals in the third (by a considerable margin of 15) and in come-from-behind wins in the final frame, with 7.
After Paul Ranger, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored in the first 40 for the Leafs, and Brad Marchand had countered for Boston, Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron tied it for Boston in that final frame. The Leafs were badly outplayed by the Bruins in the third and outshot 17-5 (38-31 overall).
Reimer in for injured Bernier
Leaf goalie Jonathan Bernier went down with a lower body injury at 8:22 of the period and the somewhat maligned James Reimer came in. He began on with his team a man down and made some quality saves during Boston's 5 on 4. And while he allowed a goal later in the period, he was more than solid in regulation and into overtime.
A phantom holding call on Torey Krug half-way through the extra-frame gave the Leafs the break they needed. Cody Franson made a great play to keep the puck in at the point and managed to get a low shot on Boston goalie Chad Johnson. Nazem Kadri, used sparingly on the night by coach Randy Carlyle, scooped up the rebound and fired it high over Johnson's right pad for the first overtime goal of his NHL career.
Leafs chase Wings, Blue Jackets
The Red Wings won last night, beating Boston, 3-2, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-0, tonight, but despite remaining behind those clubs, Toronto showed they won't quit. They also managed to chase off the ghosts of last year's Game 7 loss in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, a Boston comeback eerily similar to this one, except that this time it was the Leafs who scored in overtime.
They're 2 behind seventh place Detroit and 1 point behind the eighth place Blue Jackets, but each of those clubs have 6 games left, two more than Toronto. But the Leafs play Winnipeg at home Saturday and then go on the road to play Florida, Tampa Bay and Ottawa, all winnable games.
If they run the table they'll really put heat on Detroit and Columbus, and with momentum now going in the right direction the playoffs are at least a possibility.
More about Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, jonathan bernier, james reimer, Detroit red wings
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