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Leafs 7, Flyers 6: Whatever man, this is boring, who cares

It’s bad to lose. Many people are saying this.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

I have something potentially controversial to say:

Winning is good. Losing is bad.

The Flyers did the bad thing tonight, and not the good thing. I suppose it depends on your definition of “bad,” but I digress. I’ve come around to the idea of making playoffs by the skin of our teeth, waddling into the first round like a bunch of blind milk-drunk kittens, unwise to the ways of the world and what lay beyond them. It is looking increasingly likely that this will not happen, as if ever there were “must-win” games, it was last night’s loss and tonight’s loss. So it goes.

I just wanted to say that I wish I was watching The Sopranos right now. I finally got around to watching it at the behest of my best pal, and even though I’m stubborn as hell, I do have to concede that he was right, and it is good. Instead of watching that, I watched this Flyers game. What is wrong with me?

I’ll be candidly honest and say that the first ten minutes of this period very well may have never happened, as there wasn’t anything particularly exciting going down. Both teams looked, uh, fine. There were, uh, scoring chances. Where’s the beef, fellas?

The Leafs would get the first power play of the game, courtesy of John Tavares overselling a “hit" by Phil Myers at 10:11. You’d think the guy had been hit by a goddamn truck. In response to this, the entire stadium gave him another standing ovation. Wow, they really love that guy there.

Apparently the Leafs have a top ten power play, which is neat. Good for them. It’s fine. However, the Flyers have also had a top ten penalty kill in the past two and a half months, so, how about that. Guess you’re not so fucking special. Although they didn’t look entirely awesome doing it, the penalty kill got the job done, and that is what matters in the end. The process? Unideal, but the results? The results are good.

This was one of those times where the goaltender really is your best penalty killer. The Flyers were collapsed in their own zone for much of that power play, and the Leafs had managed seven shots off during that two minutes. I believed without a shadow of a doubt that they were going to score, but Brian Elliott kept the puck entirely in his sight, and he wasn’t gonna let it happen. Thanks, dad.

It didn’t take much time after the successful kill for the Flyers to strike first. Jake Voracek took a laser of a shot off the draw in the offensive zone just ten seconds later, and really, how could any goaltender stop that one? The puck teleported into the corner of the net at 12:22 and all of a sudden, the Flyers are winning. I’m laughing.

Another weak call was called on the Flyers with just under a few minutes left in the period, and Travis Sanheim would go off for slashing at 17:22. It’s awesome and good to see another power play against us, and it certainly will be fine, and nothing bad will happen.

Well, I am wrong often. Patrick Marleau scored a goal at 17:45 off the deflection, and I hated it. Perhaps the answer here is to not take penalties against a good power play. Who can say.

I started to feel a little sick to my stomach around the time the Flyers let in an alleged goal from Auston Matthews at 19:03. So did the Flyers, apparently, as they were quite adamant that the net was off its posts and therefore the goal should not have counted. They were correct. The goal would be taken away by our very wonderful and good refs, and it felt righteous and just.

The Leafs couldn’t manage to get that goal back before the end of the period. That’s tough, huh. Do you guys want another standing ovation?

AFTER ONE: 1-1, shots 19-11 Leafs; Flyers goal scored by Jake Voracek (12:22), Leafs goal scored by Patrick Marleau (17:45)

Oh, this was a fun one, boys.

Back at it again scoring at Scotiabank Arena, James van Riemsdyk netted a pretty little deflection at 1:15, and there was not a standing ovation in sight. Oh, what, you don’t like this guy? C’mon.

Not too long following the go-ahead goal, Radko Gudas would be called on yet another fairly dubious penalty, this time a holding call at 1:44. Gudas usually accepts punishment with a head held high and doesn’t argue, but this one he thought was pretty weak, and many people don’t know this, but Radko Gudas has never told a goddamn lie in his life. It’s true.

The ensuing penalty kill was excellent, nothing else to say about it. Despite the obvious energy and historic success of the Leafs power play, the Flyers held them to zero shots on goal over the entire course of it. Hell of a lot better than the seven shots they allowed during the first one.

Another goal for James van Riemsdyk? I might just give him an ovation myself. This was a gutsy one, scored mostly because he refused to stop jabbing at the puck in the crease, and what a decision that was. The Flyers would take a two-goal lead at 8:26.

As we all know, nothing gold can stay. 61 seconds later, the Leafs got one back, with Zach Hyman putting one in on Elliott at 9:27. What a load of bullshit. This game, and the entire sport of hockey, sucks.

I believe this is a period full of what one might call “high-event hockey.” I don’t actually know if this is a real phrase, or one I just made up. I won’t be googling that. I choose to believe I am the originator of it. If you try to correct me in the comments, you will be banned from this website. Probably. I think. Anyway, matching slashing calls were called on Andreas Johnsson and Travis Sanheim at 10:42, and we would get a good look at some nice 4-on-4 hockey.

Typically, I am on the fence about 4-on-4 hockey, in terms of whether I find it exciting or worth paying attention to in any way. I think today I have decided it is good and fun, because Radko Gudas scored during this stretch of play, and now it’s exciting. See how that works? Gudas got this one in on Andersen at 12:29. Noted offensive powerhouse, this guy.

Guess what happened 58 seconds later? If you answered “the Leafs scored,” well, that is not what happened, but I understand and validate your fatalism. What actually happened was another Flyers goal. It seems too good to be true, I know, but it happened, and I have the aide of visual images to prove it. Shayne Gostisbehere got credit for this one, and it was beautiful, and I will cherish it close to my heart forever.

If Jake Muzzin was not a hockey player, he would be a guy living in West Philadelphia trying to chat you up about starting a community vegetable garden, all the while ripping a fat cucumber melon vape all over your face. He looks like every guy I’ve ever had a date with who suggested we meet at The Bar. I don’t enjoy looking at his face. I also do not enjoy seeing him score goals. He would do that, twice in two minutes (16:08, 18:11), bringing the game within one and uncomfortably forcing me to remember bad Tinder dates.

I thought I liked this game, on account of all the goals, but now I’ve decided I don’t like it anymore. William Nylander took a high-sticking penalty at 18:49, and the Flyers got their first power play of the game, but does that matter? Really, think about it. Does it matter?

AFTER TWO: 5-4 Flyers, shots 35-20 Leafs; Flyers goals scored by James van Riemsdyk (1:15, 8:26), Radko Gudas (12:29), and Shayne Gostisbehere (13:27), Leafs goals scored by Zach Hyman (9:27) and Jake Muzzin (16:08, 18:11)

Wow, it’s simply incredible to me personally that the Flyers did not score on this power play, and also looked completely awful the entire time. This power play sucks. It sucks very much, and it is an assault to my eyes, and frankly I would rather that we don’t take the power plays at all. Just say no thanks, not tonight, I don’t want it, it stinks.

You know what never fails to be thrilling to me? Having to google search some random asshole’s name because I have never in my life heard of his existence and now he has just scored a goal on my hockey team. Martin Marincin, whoever that is, scored on Elliott at 2:55. Apparently he has not scored a goal since late 2016, also against the Flyers. Well, of course! Of course! This is good. Tie game, all good.

A dubious waived-off icing call led to a sequence of events that ended up with a penalty on Jake Voracek for tripping at 3:49. This sucks, man. The Leafs went back on the power play. Sure!

Once again to the credit of the Flyers, the penalty kill staved off a go-ahead goal from the Leafs. This is not so much a result of a smart defense or solid effort from every skater, but mostly because Brian Elliott is having a killer game. You wouldn’t really know it, considering he’s given up five goals, but by this point in the period, he’d faced almost 40 shots. His defense was not doing anything to bail him out. It was brutal. This game should be 10-5, at least.

Here’s a fun little nugget of information for you: the Leafs managed eight entire shots on goal in the time it took the Flyers to record just one.

The Leafs took a penalty at 8:14 for having one too many fellas on the ice, and once again I have to watch this shit. You know, I could just be watching The Sopranos right now. I don’t have to do this. I can just walk away.

I don’t want to waste a long time talking about this power play; it doesn’t deserve the respect of a full sentence, much less a paragraph. However, I feel like it just isn’t enough to say that it’s bad. It needs to be stated just how bad it actually is. The first whole minute of this power play was watching the Leafs win puck battles in the offensive zone, which makes perfect sense. The second minute saw the Flyers getting two chances, which makes it a hell of a lot better than the one they finished off at the start of the period, but it’s still frankly embarrassing. I’ve said this before, but I really hate that fans of other teams are allowed to see this. I want this power play locked up in my basement, and if anyone asks about it, I take a long sip from my goblet of wine and pretend not to hear. It will be fed the scraps and bones of the feast I share with the penalty kill every night. It doesn’t know where its father is, and I tell it that its father is dead, and never loved it to begin with.

I watched the rest of this period filled with a sinking sense of dread that I knew, at some point, would be vindicated. The Leafs just look good, and the Flyers look bad. There is little else to say.

Here we go, haha. Auston Matthews made it 6-5 at 15:00. Whatever. I wonder what sort of hijinks Tony Soprano is up to right now.

Wow, look at that. Auston Matthews scored again at 17:21. I’m depressed.

I guess it was too soon to start feeling sorry for myself, but was it really? Brian Elliott went to the bench with a couple minutes left in the period, and the efforts by the Flyers with the extra skater would pay off at 18:46 with James van Riemsdyk netting his third goal of the night for the hat trick. Well, good for him.

There was some extra stabbing at the puck with the final minute to go, but turns out the Flyers can’t work magic. Too little, too late, all that. At the very least, the Leafs spared us some of our dignity by not putting one in the open net.

So, when do we get mathematically eliminated from playoffs?

AFTER THREE: 7-6 Leafs, shots 52-29 (lol) Leafs; Leafs goals scored by Martin Marincin (2:55) and Auston Matthews (15:00, 17:21), Flyers goal scored by James van Riemsdyk (18:46)