The once high-flying Toronto Maple Leafs came crashing back to earth with another embarrassing defeat on Saturday, this time in a 7-4 loss to Philadelphia that hinged on a crazy ricochet goal.
The Leafs and Flyers played to a wild 3-3 tie after one period, but it was Nicklas Grossmann who broke the game open with one of the most bizarre goals of the year.
With his team pressuring, Grossmann took a pass at the left point and dumped the puck hard into the corner. The puck hit the back wall, then hit Jonathan Bernier's leg, then went in.
The slow-motion replay is like watching a game of Plinko.
That was the turning point for the Flyers, who surged out to a 7-3 lead through the second and the first half of the third. Toronto’s Peter Holland potted a meaningless goal with 6:11 to play to make it 7-4.
The Leafs gave Bernier the hook after the seventh goal, a Michael Raffl snapshot. Bernier stopped 34 of 41 shots before he was replaced.
The Leafs gave up two leads in the game and surrendered the most goals against since their infamous 9-2 drubbing at the hands of the Nashville Predators a month ago.
It’s not the note they probably wanted to end on as they embark on a seven-game road trip to wrap up 2014, which begins with a visit to Chicago.
And if there’s one thing the Leafs have shown in recent years, it’s that they’re like the little girl with the curl. When they’re good, they’re very good. And when they’re bad, they’re awful.
We’ve seen the very good. Can they avoid the very bad?