Maple Leafs' Strong Third Period Spoils Rangers' Four-Goal Comeback
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 7: Rick Nash #61 of the New York Rangers battles against Tyler Bozak #42 and Nazem Kadri #43 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on October 7, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

After making an unprecedented comeback in the second period, the New York Rangers fell victim to a three-goal, third-period outburst from Toronto.

Toronto got to New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist early and didn’t let up anytime.

Just 2:30 into the game, former Ranger and current fourth liner for the Leafs Dominic Moore tipped in a Nikita Zaitzev point shot, and quickly put the Toronto Maple Leafs up 1-0. The goal was his first as a Leaf since February 26, 2009.

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Just over a minute later, J.T. Miller scored his first goal of the season after Chris Kreider’s shot bounced off Leafs goalie Fredrick Anderson, and Miller tipped it in to tie the game at one.

Two minutes later, Leafs forward Zach Hyman found himself on a breakaway, and was ultimately denied by Lundqvist. Seconds afterward, Hyman got a second chance and patiently skated around Lundqvist to bury his first goal of the year, giving the Leafs the 2-1 lead.

11:07 minutes in, Toronto continued to get goals from the minor players on their squad. With just under 40 seconds left on a Toronto power play, Jake Gardiner went coast-to-coast, skating through the entire Rangers team to beat Lundqvist on the short side to put Toronto up 3-1.

Just under three minutes after, the Leafs defensemen continued to pour it on. Nikita Zaitsev netted his first goal of the season after firing a point shot top-shelf that beat a crowd and put the Leafs up by three. Zaitsev finished the game +5 on the scoresheet.

With under three minutes left in the first period, Hyman netted his second goal of the season after a strong forecheck behind the Rangers’ net. The puck bounced out front and Hyman banged the puck into the net, extending Toronto’s lead to 5-1.

With 23 seconds left in the period, recently acquired Kevin Shattenkirk cut the Leafs’ lead to three and recorded his 300th career NHL point. Thanks to Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich’s screens, Shattenkirk’s point shot was able to beat a blind Anderson.

Ondrej Pavelec replaced Lundqvist to start the second period and the New York Rangers made one of the most unprecedented comeback attempts the NHL has ever seen.

7:43 into the second period, Mika Zibanejad ripped a wrist shot past Anderson on the power play and cut the Rangers deficit to 5-3.

Five minutes later, the Rangers cut the lead to 5-4 when Mats Zuccarello found Mark Staal at the side of the net for a tap-in.

Less than two minutes later, Zuccarello scored a goal himself, tying the game at five after tipping in a point shot from Staal. Zuccarello captured his first career four-point night, scoring a goal and three assists.

Seven minutes into the third period, Tyler Bozak scored his first goal of the season after Jake Gardiner fed him a perfect pass from behind the net, and putting Toronto back in the lead. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault challenged that Toronto forward Mitch Marner was offside before the goal. After review, it was deemed that Marner was onside, and as a result, New York was charged with a two-minute minor.

With just five seconds left in the penalty, Kevin Hayes received a two-minute penalty for slashing. 40 seconds into the Hayes penalty, Leo Komarov batted the puck past Pavelec out of mid-air, and scored his first goal of the season, extending Toronto’s lead to 7-5.

With 1:30 left in the game, on the powerplay, Leafs forward Nazem Kadri danced around New York’s defense and beat Pavelec short side to seal the game 8-5.

The comeback was complete but the Maple Leafs pulled away late to give the Rangers their second loss of the season.

The Rangers will look to get in the win column tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadians. It has been confirmed that Pavelec will start the game in net.

 NEXT: Have the New York Rangers Planned for Michael Grabner Coming Back To Earth? 


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Zachary Weisleder is a New York Mets Beat Writer for Elite Sports NY. Born and raised in Toronto, Zach is a diehard fan of his local Blue Jays, Raptors, and Maple Leafs. In addition to writing for ESNY, Zach is a passionate supporter of Syracuse athletics and exemplifies his allegiance through contributing for Fansided’s Inside the Loud House and The Armchair All-Americans.