Kerfoot scores shootout winner, Murray stops 48, Leafs halt Sens comeback

Josh Marano
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Toronto Maple Leafs held off a reluctant Ottawa Senators attack with a 5-4 win in the shootout, their first shootout win of the season.


The biggest reason the Leafs stood any chance was Matt Murray. Although it was his sixth game in a row allowing four or more goals, he faced 52 Senators shots, the highest the teams seen this season. Murray also made six stops in the nine-round shootout.


It was the second of a back-to-back weekend for the Buds which saw Mark Giordano get his first real rest of the season. Erik Gustafsson, who had a pretty solid game against the Canes also drew out of the lineup. Justin Holl was slotted back in and was a minus two. Wayne Simmonds and Bobby McMann were both put back in the lineup with the departure of Noel Acciari who exited last game.


It was another Leaf defenceman who got the first of the game on the board. Jake McCabe scored his first as a Maple Leaf and third of the season. McCabe’s goal was also the third straight game for the Buds with a goal from a d-man. Julien Gauthier tied the game to end the first period.


Following a failed first unit attempt on a powerplay early in the second period, the second unit was put on with just under a minute and a half left. Tim Stutzle took advantage of that scoring his third shorthanded goal of the season. 


Mitch Marner answered back on the same powerplay 30 seconds later to tie the game. Marner also assisted on McCabe’s opening marker bringing him to 89 points on the season. His career high in points was 2021-22 with 97. He also improves his point streak to six games where he has 12 points.


Calle Jarnkrok followed that up three minutes later to give the Leafs the lead again. Jarnkrok scored his second of the night mid-way through the third for the two-goal lead. Auston Matthews assisted on both Jarnkrok tallies bringing him to 70 points for the fourth time in his career.


Brady Tkachuk scored shortly after to cut the lead to one. It appeared the Senators tied the game after an Alex Debrincat goal late in the third. Head coach Sheldon Keefe challenged the goal for offside and won. Keefe is six for six this season when it comes to coaches challenges.


However, this would not matter with Tkachuk scoring his second of the night with 10 seconds on the clock. McCabe blocked the shot from going through putting it right on the stick of Tkachuk at the side of the net. Murray couldn’t see it coming and was on his backside before Tkachuk fired it home.


Overtime solved nothing through five minutes of play with no whistles so the Leafs head to their third shootout of the season, and second in three games.


Debrincat opened it with a goal for Ottawa. William Nylander and Matthews answered back but Murray couldn’t stop a tying goal from Drake Batherson. Both teams couldn’t score the next three rounds, but Derick Brassard put the Sens up that was answered by Michael Bunting.


Eventually it was none other than Alex Kerfoot to beat Mads Sogaard. Kerfoot has not scored in 24 games, he has seven on the year. (Personally think shootout goals should count for individual stats). Sogaard stopped 25 of 29 shots.


Toronto earns their 42nd win on the season and move five wins away from clinched a playoff berth. They also hold a three-point edge over the Tampa Bay Lightning for second in the division.


They get a rest before they head to New York to take on the Islanders.


TOR Scoring: McCabe (3), Marner PP (26), Jarnkrok (16), Jarnkrok (17)


OTT Scoring: Gauthier (8), Stutzle SH (35), Tkachuk (29), Tkachuk PP (30)