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Maple Leafs can’t stop the Devils, lose in overtime

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NHL: NOV 17 Devils at Maple Leafs
Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s hard to win when your opponent is much better organized.

It was battle of the win streaks, with the Maple Leafs winning three straight while the Devils try to stay in the double digits.

The Maple Leafs started off the game with controlling the puck, but the Devils limited them to just one shotfor the first five minutes. That came via Morgan Rielly introducing himself to Devils goalie Vitek Vanecek.

Unlucky in shooting and unlucky with calls tonight.

The Devils defense stands tall against the Leafs bottom six.

Midway through the period things are evening up between the two teams, with three shots apiece.

Neither goalie is getting a big work out but the defenders are. Rasmus Sandin tries to clear, but makes a tape to tape pass with a Devil. He knocks the puck loose but it’s a dangerous little minute in the Leafs end.

Denis Malgin is called for the first penalty of the game by slashing Nathan Bastian. The Leafs penalty kill is performing well clearing the puck, clogging the slot, everything you want from a PK. Just as the penalty expires, Matt Murray is put to the test with a mad scramble, but he stands tall and keeps the puck out. Auston Matthews take the rebound down the ice but Vanecek scoops it up with his glove.

Dougie Hamilton gets called for high sticking shortly afterwards, giving the Leafs their first chance with the man advantage. The Maple Leafs are given more time to set up shots than the Devils were, and get some quality chances on the PP until Auston Matthews scores from right in front of the net to make it 1-0 Leafs with under five minutes to go in the first.

The Devils answer back before the Matthews goal is even announced, with Jesper Bratt tying the game at ones.

The Devils take control after goal, hemming the Leafs into their own end and making Murray work harder than he’s had to this period. When the Leafs get out of their zone they take out Dougie Hamilton by the Devils net. If you can’t beat ‘em on the scoresheet, beat ‘em on the ice.

After one, it’s tied 1-1. Devils lead in shots 12-9.

The Leafs get a nice chance when William Nylander foothandles the puck across the blue line into the Devils zone, but can’t complete the play.

Matt Murray isn’t one to back down, coming back to starting games he’s out to steal Ilya Samsonov’s job.

Nice Hischier puts the Devils ahead 2-1, after a turnover at the Leafs blueline, the Devils get a two one one and catch Murray too far out of the net and score under the crossbar.

William Nylander leads the way into the Devils zone, controlling the puck, taking a shot, getting the rebound and the Leafs spend some time finally controlling the play this period. No goals, but some more life.

The Leafs get another chance on the power play after Jonas Siegenthaler is called for interference. The Leafs scored on their last chance, and the Devils are giving the Leafs more time to set up once again.

The Devils PK picks up speed as the power play ends and gets a shorthanded rush to the Leafs net. Neither special team scores, and we’re back to even strength.

The Leafs pile on the shots with Rielly, Tavares, and others peppering Vanecek but no one get squeak one past. The Devils turn it around and try it their own, but no dice.

With just over two minutes remaining Jordie Benn is called for cross-checking Jack Hughes against the boards, and the Devils get another power play. It doesn’t last long as Nathan Bastian is called for goaltender interference, so we have four on four for 90 seconds.

Both teams get some good chances, but no one scores before the period ends, and the Leafs will have ten seconds of a powerplay to start the third. After 40 the score is 2-1, shots are 20-15 for New Jersey.

The Leafs don’t score on that tiny little power play in the third, it was only ten seconds, and we end up camped in the Leafs end for the first minute of the third. No one is helping Murray out here, but he did everything he could to keep the Devils form scoring.

We have some nice back and forth hockey, few standout moments, but Auston Matthews will supply those.

Damon Severson is called for cross-checking Pontus Holmberg, so it’s another Leafs power play, giving them a better chance to tie the game. They don’t take advantage. We get a bland offering, and then the Devils take the game right back to the Leafs zone. They’re working hard to protect the lead and their winning streak.

The Devils are showing tonight why they have won so many games in a row. Solid play, well organized shifts, great teamwork up and down the ice. It’s not exciting, but it’s well done.

Lots of chances for New Jersey, with some great passing and play. It seems the Leafs can’t quite get past the Devils blueline. Every time they get close the Devils take it and go two on one down the ice.

A puck over the glass penalty gives the Leafs their fifth power play of the game. They are one for four so far. The Leafs are setting up some nice plays, but can not get anything past Vanecek. It’s very frustrating.

They, of course, don’t score. It’s still 2-1 New Jersey as we get under three minutes remaining. In the Devils end Morgan Rielly steals a pass, gets the puck up to William Nylander and Leafs finally tie the game!

2-2 with 2 minutes left.

It’s an intense two minutes as the puck goes up and down the ice rapidly. One shot, done. To the other end. Shot. Go. Horn sounds, off to overtime.

The Devils get the puck first, and circle the Leafs zone trying to set up. They back off, change forwards and try again. The come in hard, John Tavares knocks the puck away but can’t keep hold of it, and Yegor Sharangovich scores off a rebound to give the Devils their 11th win in a row.

It was a back and forth game, but the Devils came off as much more organized than the Leafs. They seemed to know what to do rather than fly by the seat of their pants. Should fix that, guys.

The next Leafs game is Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo has been off since losing 4-1 to Ottawa on Wednesday.

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