Given the circumstances, it’s no surprise that some fans actually missed at least part of it.
The Maple Leafs became the first team in NHL history to return after trailing by three or more goals in the final five minutes to win a playoff game.
Toronto’s epic three-goal comeback to win Game 4 in overtime came just one night after Columbus recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win Game 3 in overtime made the situation even more unlikely.
According to Elias, this is just the second series in Stanley Cup playoff history in which both teams overcame a three-goal deficit to win.
The Maple Leafs were the betting favorites to win Game 4 at odds of -130, which translates to an implied winning probability of 56.5%.
However, everything that happened in the opening 56 minutes and three seconds of this game tipped the odds in the Blue Jackets’ favor.
Cam Atkinson opened the scoring at just 3:58 in the first period.
Columbus added to their lead less than five minutes after the second, when Vladislav Gavrikov scored his first career playoff goal to make it 2-0.
As the third period began, Toronto’s live odds were updated to +400 to win – an implied winning probability of 20.0%.
These chances would be much worse before they improve.
With less than six minutes of settlement, Nick Foligno stole the puck from Morgan Rielly just inside the Maple Leafs blue line and set up Boone Jenner, who beat Frederik Andersen to make 3-0 Columbus.
Trailing behind by three goals with just 5:42 to go, Toronto’s deficit looked insurmountable.
The live odds for the Maple Leafs of winning have lengthened to +2000 – just an implied 4.8% probability of winning.
No one expected what would happen next.
With the empty net, William Nylander put Toronto on the shelf with their second goal of the playoffs – barely getting enough on a loose puck in front of the net to beat Elvis merzlikins.
According to Evolving Hockey, Columbus still had a 96.7% chance of winning the game when Nylander scored to make it 3-1 with 3:57 to go.
The Maple Leafs’ live odds of victory have been reduced from 40 to 1 to 12 to 1.
Less than a minute later and with the net still empty, Auston Matthews installer John Tavares in the slot for his second in the series to make it 3-2 with 3:06 left in the third.
After two goals in 51 seconds, Toronto’s probability of winning fell from 3.3% to 7.1%.
Live betting odds have been removed from the table.
Everyone knows what happened next.
With less than a minute to go, Matthews found Zach Hyman alone near the face-off point.
After a quick touch to move the puck from his skate to his stick, Hyman shot the tying goal in front of Merzlikins.
It was 3-3 with 23 seconds left on the clock.
While everyone remembers Hyman’s goal of forcing overtime, it’s easy to forget what happened just a minute and 15 seconds before that.
With the Blue Jackets up 3-2 and 1:38 left in settlement, Pierre-Luc Dubois carried the puck over the Toronto blue line and shot it towards the empty net.
His shot veered right off the post and hit the outside of the net.
While a goal would likely have sealed a victory and won the series, the odds were still strongly in favor of a Columbus victory even after Dubois’s missed opportunity.
According to Evolving Hockey, the Blue Jackets still had a 98.6 percent chance of winning when Dubois missed the gaping net with 98 seconds left in regulation.
It changed in a hurry.
Hyman tied the game at 3-3, the last 23 seconds of the third period elapsed and both teams came off the ice to prepare for overtime.
By the end of the settlement, Toronto was a favorite of -150 live bets to win – an implied winning probability of 60.0% – even shorter odds than at the start of the game.
Seven minutes before overtime, Foligno was called up for tripping Rielly, which sent the Maple Leafs to the power play.
Ten seconds later, Matthews sent the winner past Merzlikins to complete the unlikely comeback victory.
Friday was the first time since 1988 that the NHL schedule featured six playoff games in a single day.
Toronto’s unprecedented comeback was the only thing that prevented a clean sweep of the six teams facing elimination.
Prior to the start of the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers and Leafs had the shortest chances of winning the Stanley Cup of the 16 teams that will make the Stanley Cup qualifying round.
Pittsburgh and Edmonton were both eliminated on Friday.
Now, Toronto will look to join the Carolina Hurricanes and two Canadian teams – the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks – as the only series favorites in the qualifying round to advance to the knockout stages.
The Maple Leafs are currently rated at -145 to win Game 5 against Columbus – an implied winning probability of 59.2%.