A five-on-three power play is extremely good news for most hockey teams, especially if it’s for anywhere close to a full two minutes. That often leads to at least one goal for, and sometimes two. But the Toronto Maple Leafs’ full 2:00 5-on-3 turned into misery Wednesday against the New Jersey Devils, with a Leafs’ misplay at the New Jersey blue line letting Devils’ center Adam Henrique start a rush, beat two defenders and get a shot off, which led to New Jersey left winger Brian Gibbons (seen celebrating above) scoring on the rebound:
The Devils score 3 on 5 against the Leafs. Whoops! pic.twitter.com/0cGZU1OUxQ
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 12, 2017
This came with the Leafs trailing 3-2 in the second period, and put them in a 4-2 hole. New Jersey center Blake Coleman’s third-period goal (also off a Toronto turnover) made it 5-2, and further goals from the Leafs’ Auston Matthews (on another 5-on-3 that went far better for Toronto) and the Devils’ Pavel Zacha produced the final 6-3 result. But it was the 3-on-5 goal that was particularly unique, and historic, as NJ.com’s Chris Ryan writes:
The Devils benefited from a bizarre 3-on-5 short-handed goal from Brian Gibbons to fuel a three-goal run between the second and third periods, allowing them to take control in a 6-3 win over the Leafs on Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre.
Trailing 3-2 in the second period, the Leafs were presented with a golden scoring opportunity with a two-minute 5-on-3 power play in the second period.
The Devils (3-0-0) decided to do the scoring instead.
Adam Henrique started a rush before Gibbons poked in a rebound for a 3-on-5 short-handed goal 10 seconds into the penalty kill, and the Devils kept the Leafs out of the net for the full two minutes to get back to even strength.
Per the NHL, Gibbons’ goal was the first 3-on-5 (or 3-on-6) short-handed goal for the Devils since the league started tracking those stats in 1987-88.
That’s pretty unique indeed. And it left the Devils as the only undefeated team in the Eastern Conference. For that, they can thank Henrique, Gibbons, and the penalty kill unit. Having two extra men didn’t work out for Toronto on that one.