Leafs late rally forces a game five

Updated: Aug 9

Toronto was able to comeback after being down by three late in the third to force a winner-take-all game five against Columbus.

(Frank Gunn/CP)

By: Alex Baumgartner


Entering Friday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs were down 2-1 in the series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus pulled off a miraculous comeback the night before when they came back from three goals down to beat Toronto 4-3 in overtime.


Fast forward 24 hours and the Leafs are on the brink of elimination, down by three to Columbus with just under four minutes remaining in the game. 


All hope for Toronto to force a game five seemed lost as the clock winded down in the final minutes of play. With 3:55 remaining in the third, William Nylander scored Toronto’s first goal of the game, but it was too little too late. At least that’s what Leafs fans thought.


Less than a minute after Nylander’s goal, Toronto captain John Tavares ripped a shot from the slot into the top shelf of the net, bringing the Leafs within one goal from tying the game.


Once again, Toronto had pulled their goalie, making it a six on five. With 22.2 seconds left in the third, Zach Hyman kicked the puck from his skate to his stick and beat Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins five-hole, tying the game up seconds before the Leafs would have been eliminated. 


This late comeback gave the Leafs one more chance at evening the series entering overtime.


The additional period saw great scoring chances from both teams, but both goaltenders kept their team in the game.


With around seven minutes remaining in the first overtime, Columbus captain Nick Foligno took a tripping penalty when Morgan Rielly fell into the boards after stepping on Foligno’s stick. 


When the Leafs went on the power-play, it didn’t take long for them to end the game. 


Just ten seconds into the power-play, John Tavares fed Auston Matthews on the wing and the Leafs top goal scorer buried the puck into the net, forcing a winner-take-all game five. 


Toronto will face Columbus on Sunday in game five. The winner of the game will move on to round 1 of the NHL Playoffs.