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Andersen Stands On His Head, Steals One From Predators

Published February 7, 2018 at 10:40 PM
BY

"The Toronto Maple Leafs had a big litmus test versus the Nashville Predators tonight and after a pretty even first period, the Leafs failed big time against the defending Western Conference champs. Frederik Anderson was the sole reason for the Leafs 3-2 shootout win.
The game did not get off to the start like many felt it would. The Maple Leafs got an early power play, but didn't even register a shot on goal. In fact, the teams combined for just four total shots on goal in the first 11 minutes of the game.
Colton Sissons had the first big scoring chance of the game, with just over six minutes left in the period, as he picked off a centering pass by William Nylander, but had his backhand shot from right in front of the net denied by Andersen.
The Andersen save was huge as the Maple Leafs got on the board at the 16:06 mark of the opening. Connor Brown settled down a bouncing pass from Travis Dermott in the right circle and found James van Riemsdyk in the high slot where he blasted a one-timer past Pekke Rinne for his 21st goal of the season.
Kasperi Kapanen doubled the Leafs lead with a spectacular shorthanded goal at 8:38 of the second period. Kapanen chipped the puck past P.K. Subban at point and raced down the ice. Craig Smith caught up to Kapanen, so he hit the brakes, spun around and then shot the puck between the legs of Rinne for his fourth goal of the year.
The Predators had a much better push in the second period as the got 19 pucks on goal and the finally got one past Andersen with just under two minutes remaining in the frame. Pontus Aberg's shot hit van Riemsdyk in the slot and Sissons found the puck in the slot and blasted it into the Leafs net.
Nashville needed just 25 seconds in the second period to tie the game. Viktor Arvidsson took advantage of a failed clearing attempt by Auston Matthews and quickly beat Andersen through the five-hole from the left circle. The Predators nearly took the lead less than a minute later, but Andersen made a huge pad save on Kevin Fiala.
The Predators absolutely owned the Leafs in the third period, outshooting them 16-6. Andersen was the only reason the game headed to overtime and he made his best save with just over a minute remaining in regulation by somehow getting his right leg out just enough to deny Ryan Johansen on a wraparound attempt.
The game headed to a shootout after neither team to score in overtime. It was not surprise that the goaltenders had the advantage with the way the first 65 minutes of the game went. After both Tyler Bozak and Ryan Ellis scored in the third round, James van Riemsdyk beat Rinne to the blocker side in the seventh round. Andersen denied Arvidsson's five-hole attempt to seal the win.
You can be happy with the result, but if Andersen doesn't stand on his head the Leafs would have been run right out of the building. Too many turnovers, not enough puck possession, but hockey can be a weird sport.
The Maple Leafs are off until Saturday when the host the Ottawa Senators. "



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