Toronto struck first on the power play after Sergei Bobrovsky was caught slightly out of position and wasn’t able to recover his positioning as the puck went off the skate (non-kicking motion, I swear) of John Tavares to make it a 1-0 game.
It didn’t take long for the Jackets to respond, doing so not only in play (matching Toronto’s physicality, calming down and controlling some possession) but on the scoreboard as Nick Foligno launched a shot from the faceoff circle to tie the game at 1-1.
But, Toronto had the final say in the period, when Tavares beat Bob for a second time on a wicked wrist shot, giving the Leafs a 2-1 lead at the break.
The only goal was courtesy of a *sigh* four-on-four rush immediately following a Jackets’ scoring chance as Mitchell Marner beat Bob to make it 3-1.
It was a period that simultaneously wasn’t great but also could have ended with a Jackets lead, if not for getting stopped multiple times on chances right in front. Frustrating, to say the least.
Oh yeah, and maybe the worst power play of the season.
The period started with the Blue Jackets playing fast and spending a significant amount of time in the offensive zone, but were unable to beat Garret Sparks, who stopped 27 of the 29 shots he faced.
Toronto made it a three-goal affair with about 5:30 to play on kind of a flukey play on a rush, when Marner went to his knees but still kept the handle on it and dished it to Frederik Gauthier who made it 4-1.
The 4th line has been great tonight and their effort gets rewarded. It starts with a smart clear from Trevor Moore who springs free Par Lindholm. He proceeds to set up Frederik Gauthier who buried it. 4-1 Leafs. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/ZRAY2NdJ4h— Maple Leafs Hotstove (@LeafsNews) December 29, 2018
Artemi Panarin notched his 100th NHL goal with a beautiful snipe from the left faceoff circle, but it’d be too little too late as the Jackets fell, 4-2.
Artemi Panarin fires a cannon to put the Jackets back within 2, 4-2 with about 90 seconds to go pic.twitter.com/T8e4ZgziXt— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) December 29, 2018
The Jackets see their five-game winning streak come to a close while Toronto has their winning streak extended to five games.