According to, the Toronto Maple Leafs had a 99.97% chance of winning tonight’s game after scoring their fifth goal late in the second period.

They then stopped playing, unless by “playing” we mean turning the puck over and conceding goals in every way imaginable, including on the power play, just after a power play, on the penalty kill, and at 6-on-5.

The Ottawa Senators roared their way back, eventually tying it up and then winning the game in overtime 6-5. If we forget the stakes of the game for a second and just evaluate the magnitude of the collapse, is this as bad as the David Ayers game? The “it was 4-1” game? What about all those other Game 7 collapses?

Any way you slice it, this was an embarrassing loss for a team that has become notorious for blowing leads in spectacular fashion.

I’m honestly not quite sure how to process what I just watched. To help guide my thoughts, let’s go through each player individually.

5/5 Stars

Game Puck: Joe Thornton (LW, #97) — From his first shift back, you could see the type of impact Thornton can still have on an NHL game. He’s well past the point of being the “driver” on a line, but as a complementary piece, he did a great job of winning puck battles along the boards and finding open teammates in the offensive zone.

When Mitch Marner was able to get him into open space off the rush, Thornton did a great job waiting for Auston Matthews to stop up and create the passing lane.

How can you not root for Jumbo Joe?

Thornton also ended up scoring a goal later in the game, when the puck awkwardly bounced off him and past Marcus Hogberg.

Auston Matthews (C, #34) — We gave Jumbo Joe the game puck because how could you not? The actual best player on the ice was Auston Matthews, at least through 40 minutes.

When the Leafs were actually trying in this game, their top line looked unstoppable. Matthews was setting up his teammates for quality looks in the offensive zone, and even generated a few himself.

The way Ottawa defended him at 5-on-3 was interesting, to say the least.

Maybe next time, don’t leave the NHL’s leading scorer alone in the middle of the slot. That said, it’s funny how easy Matthews makes that goal look. His release is lightning quick and yet he’s still able to get a ton of power on it.

I say he gets 45.

Mitch Marner (RW, #16) — When Thornton was describing his assist to Matthews on the first goal, he brought up just how patient Marner is with the puck. I thought it was a great assessment; Marner’s ability to skate the puck into dangerous areas and wait for the play to develop is what separates him from other NHL players.

He was also picking off passes in all three zones. The Leafs could’ve really used that type of defensive acumen from the rest of their roster tonight, especially in the third period.

4/5 Stars

Pierre Engvall (LW, #47) — I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but Pierre Engvall is really good at playing keep-away. Is he going to produce a lot of offense? No, but his ability to transport the puck up the ice with possession and hold onto it along the perimeter in the offensive zone has real value. His line spent a large chunk of their time cycling in the offensive zone, and it was because of Engvall’s strong play.

3/5 Stars

Morgan Rielly (LD, #44) — If it weren’t for his blunder in 3-on-3 overtime, we’d probably have Rielly in the 4-star club. Unfortunately, he shot it into a Senators player on a Grade-A scoring chance (with Matthews wide open at the backdoor), took an awful route, and allowed a breakaway for the game-winning goal.

In the 62 minutes before that, Rielly was making mostly positive plays up the ice. By now, most of us know how effective he is on the breakout, but I was surprised with how well he was defending the rush.

Here’s a quick look at Brady Tkachuk trying to get past him.

That’s a heck of a play to strip Tkachuk of the puck and then send Marner up the ice for a 2-on-1.

Rielly also drew a penalty after gaining the zone on the power play to make it a 5-on-3. He had a strong game – it just didn’t end well.

Travis Boyd (C, #72) — Tonight will surely be remembered as the night when Travis Boyd dangled Nikita Zaitsev, right?

Maybe not, but that was still pretty awesome.

Alex Kerfoot (C, #15) — This was actually his best game in a while. Kerfoot was using his speed to get behind Ottawa’s defenders off the rush, which is how he picked up his primary assist.

Kerfoot completed another 2-on-1 pass in this game. Unfortunately, it was to Ilya Mikheyev. Kerfoot also had a chance to do something on a 3-on-1. Unfortunately, he chose to shoot it high and wide.

All kidding aside, it was nice to see Kerfoot with that extra jump in his step after picking up his assist. He looked considerably more dangerous off the rush tonight.

Travis Dermott (LD, #23) — Harsh criticism is coming, I promise! You just won’t find it in this section.

The last time I remember Dermott looking this confident with the puck on his stick was back in his rookie season. He’s at his best when he’s using his elusiveness to shake & bake the first forechecker, which we’re starting to see more of lately.

You’d still like to see him use those moves in the offensive zone, where he still appears to be afraid to make a dynamic play. That results in him settling for low-percentage shots from the point. With his skating ability, he should be looking to activate down the left wall more often and try to create more efficient offense.

TJ Brodie (RD, #78) — Despite his team’s defensive struggles, Brodie actually did an excellent job of taking away passing lanes through the middle of the ice. Other than Jake Muzzin, he’s probably the Leafs’ best defenseman in that regard. Brodie also helped the Leafs stretch the ice vertically in this game, finding Kerfoot for a 2-on-1 assist and Spezza later on for an odd-man rush on the PK.

William Nylander (LW, #88) — Call me crazy, I thought Nylander played pretty well tonight. His center didn’t, which we’ll discuss in detail towards the end. If we’re strictly evaluating #88’s play, though, he was the most dangerous player on his line by far.

Nylander created a few quality chances by feathering a few gorgeous saucer passes to his teammates. He also had a great net drive earlier in the game, not to mention his sharp-angle shot that almost put the Leafs back on top with 1:04 remaining.

He didn’t take over the game, but he didn’t play terribly, either.

2/5 Stars

The Muzzin-Holl Pair — I couldn’t believe how good their 5-on-5 metrics looked after 40 minutes, but then again, they spent most of their time with the Matthews line at even strength. As always, Justin Holl looked good defending the rush, while Jake Muzzin was a steady presence on the penalty kill.

The more concerning issue for me was their puck-moving tonight. Both players looked a bit sloppy with the puck on their stick, especially in the offensive zone. This resulted in the Leafs turning the puck over at the end of shifts when they had the Senators caved in. Those are big-time missed opportunities.

Zach Hyman (LW, #11) — The broadcast showed the following graphic, which describes Zach Hyman perfectly.

To my eye, he wasn’t that dominant on puck retrievals tonight. Don’t get me wrong, that’s where Hyman provides value at 5-on-5. I just didn’t think he was as effective on Monday night as we’ve grown accustomed to him being.

Ilya Mikheyev (RW, #65) — Initially, I was planning on giving Mikheyev 1-star because of how little he accomplished at even strength. Then he had one of the best PK shifts I’ve ever seen, diving across the ice to intercept a pass and then reversing the puck back to his defensemen. We’ll bump him up to two stars for that effort, but he needs to start providing more value offensively at even strength.

Jason Spezza (RW, #19) — He had two real chances in this game, both coming off of a 2-on-1. On both of them, he looked off his linemate and fired the puck into the goaltender’s logo.

Zach Bogosian (RD, #22) — It’s frustrating to watch NHL defensemen give the other team the puck unnecessarily. Bogosian did a few times tonight, which came back to bite him on the Drake Batherson goal.

1/5 Stars

John Tavares (C, #91) — Woof.

The biggest problem with Toronto this season has been the production of the Tavares line at 5-on-5. Not only did they not produce tonight, but Tavares was directly responsible for a few Grade-A scoring chances against, most memorably the pizza he gifted Ottawa on their second goal that got the collapse started.

If the Leafs are going to reach the lofty standards they’ve set for themselves this season, their captain simply needs to play better.

Frederik Andersen (G, #31) — The were a number of times Andersen could’ve stopped the bleeding when Ottawa was trying to make a game of it in the third period. Instead, he, like the rest of his team, crumbled when it looked like things weren’t going their way.

I’m not usually one to take a stroll on Narrative Street, but this seems to happen a lot to Andersen in high-pressure situations (i.e. the playoffs).

Jimmy Vesey (LW, #26) — He hasn’t worked on the first line. He hasn’t worked on the second line. He hasn’t worked on the third line. He hasn’t worked on the fourth line.

Is anyone else starting to notice a pattern?

Heat Map

Here’s a quick look at where each team’s shots were coming from at even strength, courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.

Game Score

Game score is a metric developed by The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn to measure single-game performance. You can read more about it here.

Final Grade: F