Same scenario, same script, same result.

But oh my, it wasn’t easy, and the fragile and sickly Maple Leafs made another boatload of strange and curious decisions to make so many situations difficult that didn’t have to be along the way.

Still, the 3-2 shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils on the second Sunday night special of the season at the Air Canada Centre was the only part of the game sheet the Leafs needed to see.

“Well, we can breathe,” said head coach Randy Carlyle after the team’s first win in five games. “Hopefully this relieves a little stress for our hockey club, gets us back playing the way we’re capable of playing.”

Oddly enough, back on Nov. 8, exactly the same situation unfolded in the same arena between these two teams, with a shootout that night after a 1-1 deadlock over 65 minutes.

Back, then, it was also Cory Schneider in goal for the Devs and Jonathan Bernier for the Leafs, who were then riding high with a 10-5 record. Bernier stopped all three New Jersey shooters and James van Riemsdyk was the only Leaf to solve Schneider.

Well, it went exactly that way again Sunday night — a doughnut for Bernier, JVR with the only Leaf success on free shots — which was sufficient for the Leafs to get a rare win against a Metropolitan Division opponent.

For much of the night, it appeared to be a contest when both clubs were mustering all the energy they possibly could as the NHL season continues to compress the schedule to ridiculous degrees to fit in the Sochi Olympics.

(As an aside, it’s almost like the NHL is out to demonstrate to the players just how physically demanding their desire is to continue to participate in the Olympics, with South Korea set to follow these Russian Games in 2018.)

The Devils had played the night before and were skating in their third game in four nights. Ditto for the Leafs, who now play Tuesday in Boston and then back home on Wednesday against Buffalo to make it five games in seven nights.

And we expect terrific hockey out of these athletes?
At any rate, the Leafs led twice by 1-0 and 2-1 scores, but both times allowed the Devils to get back to even. For the 38th time this season in their 47th game, the Leafs surrendered more than 30 shots to an opponent, and they needed Bernier to be sharp well before the shootout to come up with 36 stops.

The Leafs, meanwhile, continued to drive Carlyle to distraction by always preferring the complicated play over the simple one.