Lucas Viveiros | Report
Sunday night at Madison Square Garden saw a New York Rangers goaltender… (and no it was not Henrik Lundqvist) carry his team with 55 saves on 56 shots to stop the Maple Leafs winning streak at four games.
Alexandar Georgiev, the only Bulgarian in the NHL celebrated his 23rd birthday on Sunday, and he was dialled in from puck drop, only giving up one goal on 56 shots.
Toronto also started their back-up goaltender in this one, giving Garret Sparks the second half of a back-to-back as per usual, but he didn’t have the greatest of nights.
The Leafs found themselves behind the eight ball early, surrendering the first goal of the game just 28 seconds in, when the hottest goalscorer in the NHL at the moment, Mika Zibanejad slotted home his 12th goal since January 11th on a rebound off the pad of Sparks.
Toronto went on the attack for the next 10 minutes, dominating in possession and scoring chances, before Rangers d-man Tony DeAngelo coughed the puck up to speedy winger Kasperi Kapanen. Kapanen would blow through the neutral zone with his quick feet and eventually fire a laser past Georgiev to even the game 1-1.
Under four minutes later, immediately after an expired Leafs power-play, the Rangers would zip down the ice on a four on three rush where Jimmy Vesey would pot home the goal to put New York back on top 2-1.
William Nylander had a great chance to once again tie the game up with under five minutes to play in the period, but he was able to beat Georgiev, but not the post in behind him.
Georgiev continued to stone the Leafs, shot after shot, chance after chance, as none of their offensive weapons could find a way to get one by the Bulgarian goaltender. As a result, the score would stay at 2-1 heading into the final period of play.
The third period would see a similar story continue, with the Leafs controlling the majority of the play, but not able to capitalize.
Then at 11:59 of the third, former Bruins d-man Adam McQuaid would wrist a floater on net from the blue-line, on a goal that Sparks would love to have back, as the Rangers extended their lead to two.
Toronto would pull their goaltender with just under three minutes to play, but they still couldn’t find a way to beat Georgiev, as New York would add an empty net goal courtesy Kevin Hayes, and win the game by a final score of 4-1.
Revisit the game’s highlights below.
Up next, the Leafs will travel to the rockies to battle it out with Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche.
Game time is set for 9:00pm from the Pepsi Center, and can be watched on TSN4.
More news from the ice
- Alexander Georgiev finished the game two saves shy of the NHL record for saves by a goaltender on their birthday, which stands at 57, record by Al Rollins of the Chicago Blackhawks on October 9, 1955 against Toronto
- The Leafs 21 shots in the first period are their most in an opening period of a road game since March 23, 2007 vs Buffalo
- Nazem Kadri has 12 shots in the game
- Before the game, the Maple Leafs activated Tyler Ennis from injured reserve, but he did not play
- Zuccarello has 17 points in his last 11 games
Out of town scoreboard
Sunday, February 10
St. Louis 5 Nashville 4 (OT)
Detroit 2 Chicago 5
Colorado 1 Boston 2 (OT)
Winnipeg 3 Buffalo 1
Carolina 2 New Jersey 3
Minnesota 1 NY Islanders 2
Tampa Bay 5 Florida 2
More coverage to follow. Image from CBC.