The Loop

Pain

The Toronto Maple Leafs logged another epic, mathematics-defying collapse on Monday night

February 16, 2021

On Monday night, while you were plunging into a vortex of despair at the end of the last three-day weekend until Memorial Day, the Toronto Maple Leafs were doing the exact same thing. Well, at least the vortex of despair part. With 2:45 left in overtime, they watched helplessly as the Senators’ Evgenii Dadonov broke away from the defense and lifted the puck past Frederik Andersen to win the game 6-5. But that decisive goal only tells one tiny fraction of the story.

You see, this was just the exclamation point on a comeback in a game in which Leafs were leading 5-1 late in THE SECOND PERIOD. You don't need an abacus to crunch those numbers, folks. They aren’t good. In fact, not only are they acutally very, very bad, but from a Senators perspective, they are borderline unprecedented.

The Ottawa Senators have been playing NHL hockey games for over 30 years, but they had literally never done what they did to the poor ol’ Leafs last night, coming back back from a 4+ goal deficit—including a game-tying goal with their goalie pulled in the waning seconds of regulation—to win. So what, you might find yourself wondering, were the odds of the Sens pulling such a comeback on Monday night? We’re glad you asked, friend.

One in 3,000 chance. In fact, after Matthews second goal of the game, which put the Leafs up 5-1 late in the second period, the Leafs' win probability rose to 99.97%. We’re just humble english majors around these parts, but that seems as close to a sure thing as you get in the weird, wild world of numbers.

Of course, one thing all the models didn’t account for were the Leafs being the Leafs. This is the same team that led 4-1 in the third period of the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against their arch rivals and somehow managed to find a way to lose 5-4. This is the same team that took the Bruins (again) in the playoffs (again) to a Game 7 (again) only to lose 5-1. And that’s just the recent history.

So let’s give Ottawa their due. We won’t see a better NHL regular season comeback all year. But make no mistake: What happened on Monday night belongs to the Maple Leafs.