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Less than 3%: "So you're telling me there's a chance?"

Leafs against the wall

The Leafs came out strong with Sam Lafferty scoring the first goal of the game at only 2:26, from Kämpf and Rielly, and the game was back and forth throughout. Panthers outshot the Leafs 29-24, but after the first period, shots were within 1 much of the time. 

The Leafs went into the dressing room ahead, but Luke Schenn took a tripping penalty at the start of the second. Toronto almost killed the penalty but Florida's Duclair scored with only a second remaining.  Gustafsson took a pass from Nylander on a feed from McCabe to take the lead back for Toronto. 

Lukas Bernasiewicz
Lukas Bernasiewicz

A hurt Samsonov was replace by Woll, who acquitted himself well, but was beaten by the ever-dangerous Carter Verhaeghe to tie it again.

The teams went into the second intermission even and played the whole third period without a goal. It was exciting, fire wagon, end to end hockey with chances for both teams. Leafs' pressure was stronger for much of the period, but again they were unable to get pucks past Bobrovsky.

Overtime went a mere three minutes before Reinhart pulled off a perfect wraparound manoeuvre no goalie could be faulted on, winning the game for Florida and putting our boys up against the wall. The record for comebacks in NHL playoff series from a 3-0 deficit would dampen the enthusiasm of the most dedicated, loyal fan. The Leafs themselves did it in the Stanley Cup final in 1942, against Detroit. LA did it in 2014. But only two other teams have ever done it in more than 190 series with 3-0 leads. 

All that said, usually when there is a 3-0 deficit, there is a sense that one team is dominating the other. That is not what we see here. These are well-balanced teams where one has been better able to close the deal. Both teams have made mistakes, there have been turnovers both ways. The edge in play Florida has had is small, and the puck has bounced for them. Their goaltender has had exceptional success.

There is no denying it, the odds are against our boys. The series has to go to game 7 for them to win, they have to win every game, there is no home ice advantage, and some key players are giving signs of being battered and fatigued. 

That said, Matthews and Marner both played 200 foot hockey last night, Nylander assisted on the second goal, Rielly still does not let up. While Tavares played solidly, he was unable to get goals. There is a lot of capability and determination on the Leaf side. They need a few bounces, maybe quite a few, but it could still happen.

Keep the faith.