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Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand scores on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Joseph Woll in overtime NHL hockey action, in Toronto on Dec. 2.Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press

If it’s a Maple Leafs game, it must be overtime.

On Saturday Toronto went beyond 60 minutes for the fifth time in six games and the 11th in 22 overall. It ended in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins despite a good effort.

The Maple Leafs clawed back from two goals down and nearly forced a shootout but the villainous Brad Marchand – boo, hiss – did them in in the final seconds.

Certainly, getting a loser’s point is better than none at all but if the Maple Leafs had won a few more games to this point they would be bird-dogging Boston in the Atlantic Division standing instead of in their perpetual pursuit.

What’s bad is that the team has escaped mistakes so often that it has begun to pat itself on the back for coming close. What’s good is that it holds down fourth place in the division but is only about an inch behind the third-place Red Wings and second-place Panthers.

“We played well and deserved to tie that game at the end,” Matthew Knies said after practice on Sunday. Auston Matthews tied it with a Houdini-esque goal with six seconds left in regulation time. “We ended up with an unfortunate result but we battled back hard.”

With five, the Maple Leafs have the second-fewest wins in regulation in the Eastern Conference – and are tied for third for the third-fewest in the league. The San Jose Sharks have one more.

It is slightly unfair to be so critical of a 12-6-4 team but in this case it is deserved. Add the numbers up and they have just two more triumphs than defeats.

“The Bruins are an elite team so we knew we were going to get their best,” Toronto winger Nick Robertson said on Sunday. “It was a very competitive game. It could have gone either way.”

It could have, but didn’t. Matthews scored twice but that effort was wasted. So was another solid performance by Joseph Woll in the Toronto net.

“Our guys gave us everything they had,” coach Sheldon Keefe said after the loss. “If there is ever a game where both teams deserve two points, this is probably it.”

The Maple Leafs were denied the opportunity because William Nylander fell and coughed up the puck with 15 seconds left. Eight seconds later Marchand tapped one past the sprawling Woll.

Another loser’s point.

Toronto does not play again until Thursday when it meets the Senators in Ottawa. It will practice twice more before then and perhaps figure out more about this winning business.

“There was not a lot of difference between the two teams,” Keefe said. “It was fast and competitive and I think our guys were right there.”

A loss to the Bruins is nothing about which one should be ashamed. The shame is that the Maple Leafs are 0-0-2 against them during the 2023-24 campaign. Of course, the task at hand is to make the playoffs. Winning the division is nice, but it did not help Florida or Boston in either of the past two seasons. Each failed to get out of the first round.

After a shootout win over the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, Toronto defenceman Jake McCabe pronounced that two points are two points. What failed to resonate with him is that the team had blown a late two-goal lead in regulation and barely squeezed by a lesser opponent.

“It was tight at the end and you could feel the intensity rising,” defenceman Simon Benoit said on Saturday. “But it’s good for us, these are good games to prepare for the playoffs.”

Well, that is one way to look at it. Another is that a team that expects to contend for the Stanley Cup is just getting by.

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