Jonathan Bernier injured as Maple Leafs narrowly avoid another collapse

Claus Andersen

The Maple Leafs sent their fans on another roller-coaster ride on Thursday night but somehow found a way to win and, for the time being, keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Toronto Maple Leafs seem to love torturing their fans.

This, of course, is true even when they win.

Their 4-3 overtime win against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night had a little bit of everything, including an injury to their starting goalie, a terrible third period that nearly turned a two-goal lead into another late collapse against the Boston Bruins, and a controversial penalty call in overtime that gave the Leafs the power play that ended up leading to Nazem Kadri's game-winning goal.

But the story with the greatest implications is the injury to goalie Jonathan Bernier.

Shortly after the Bruins scored to make it a 3-2 game, Bernier was injured when Paul Ranger pushed Patrice Bergeron on top of him, resulting in what appeared to be a left leg injury fof Bernier. He had to leave the game, barely putting any weight on his leg as he skated off. He was replaced in the net by James Reimer.

When Reimer -- having already faced some intense criticism in Toronto for his play when Bernier was out of the lineup over the past couple of weeks -- allowed a game-tying goal to Bergeron it had to seem as if Maple Leafs fans were watching a replay of last year's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal when Boston erased a three-goal lead in the third period to eliminate Toronto.

This time around the Maple Leafs were able to catch a break. It came in overtime when Boston's Torey Krug was penalized for holding Tyler Bozak as he charged toward the net.

To say the call was questionable would be a laughable understatement.

Here is the play, via @MyRegularFace of Stanley Cup of Chowder.

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Not only is that not holding, that is not a penalty of any sort. The Maple Leafs were able to capitalize when Kadri scored his 19th goal of the season, which salvaged the their season for the time being. A loss, even in overtime, probably would have been the final knockout punch on 2014.

With the win the Maple Leafs were at least able to keep pace with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who were 2-0 winners in Philadelphia on Thursday. Toronto remains one point behind Columbus for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Blue Jackets also own the tiebreaker by having more regulation and overtime wins.

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