What I’d really like to do a column about is how absurd I think shoot-outs (overtime, for that matter) are as a way to decide regular-season NHL games. But I’ve vented about that before, and I sense I’m on a bit of an island on this one, so I’ll let it go. I just think it messes up the standings, gives teams a false sense of success and as a result, also gives fans—and GM’s—an inaccurate sense of where their team “fits” in the Conference landscape.
But hey, fans evidently still love it and it is here to stay because it creates entertainment. For me, I’d go back to ties. If you finish the game 3-3, that’s the final—and each team goes home with a deserved point, not one team with a flimsy bonus point.
The Leafs came back for what was almost a 3-2 victory, but a late power play goal by the visitors necessitated yet another overtime for the home side. At least this time they prevailed. The question, I guess, is: will this provide any momentum heading into their New Year’s day outdoor encounter with the Red Wings?
I have no idea, as Toronto has gone in fits and spurts for weeks, it seems. But fans will take the win, and hope that this will trigger a run of good play in the weeks ahead.
Soon, however, the Leafs will have to show they can close the deal, as it were, and win games in regulation. You don’t get to play wide-open four-on four hockey in overtime in the playoffs—or rely on shootout wins for extra points.