Don't be fooled by the score: this game was a bit of a snoozer. Leo had a great game, especially on the PP, but the rest of it? Yawn.
It was a pretty uneven game, with the teams trading goals for a lot of it. The Leafs were a hot mess for the first half of the first period. Bernier gave up another early goal, this time on the second shot of the game, but it really wasn't his fault. Erik Johnson found Jack Skille on the back door while Peter Holland was doing nothing right in front of the net.
The Leafs continued to be bad until Shawn Matthais drew a penalty on Francois Beauchemin penalty around 13 minutes in. Enter our hero. Komarov scored during the powerplay with an absolute snipe. What a beautiful goal. King Leo wasn't done there, either. The Leafs went back on the PP later in the period. Komarov corralled the puck in front of the net and fired a gorgeous between-the-legs pass to Lupul, who buried the easy goal.
Lupul goal pic.twitter.com/LN4Z4daSpL— Stephanie (@myregularface) December 22, 2015
The Avalanche tied it up early in the second, scoring after a lost draw in the defensive zone. The Leafs looked a bit lost. Alex Tanguay deked around a stumbling Kadri and passed to John Mitchell. Bernier had already committed to the shot at that point and Mitchell had an easy tap in.
But wait! Our hero does not back down without a fight. The Leafs went back on the powerplay and Komarov redirected a nice pass from Peter Holland seconds into the PP. In case you haven't been keeping track, that goal gave Komarov 15 on the season, rocketing him up to tenth place in the goal-scoring race.
Alas, a hero does not become a hero without a little bit of adversity. The Avalanche tied it up again after Johnson scored on the PP. The defending on this play was subpar, to say the least. Byron Froese was puck watching, committing to Landeskog on the far side that is definitely not his man, leaving Johnson wide open. Phaneuf is just standing in front of his net? There aren't any Avalanche players within three feet of him? I'm not sure what he was doing, is the point.
Shots were 11-14 favouring the Avalanche after two periods. Yawn.
If the first two periods were about King Leo, the third was all about Tyler Bozak. James van Reimsdyk jumped on a loose puck at the defensive blue line early in the third. He passed the puck off on the ensuing rush and Bozak slipped it past Varlamov, five hole. Bozak got a breakaway later in the frame and converted again.
They added another one after van Riemsdyk tipped a Gardiner wrist shot. Bozak added his third of the night on an empty netter.
JvR goal, 6-3 Leafs pic.twitter.com/C9MG96BHZb— Stephanie (@myregularface) December 22, 2015
Bernier settled in a bit in the third. The Avalanche didn't really have any great chances but Bernier saved almost everything that was directed at him. Jack Skille added a late goal on the breakaway, high glove side.
- After having a great game against the Kings, the fourth line of Froese-Boyes-Matthias did not do anything at all. They were on the ice for 8 corsi events all night. Marincin had a low event night, too. Three shot attempts for and five against.
- Kadri's line played against the ridiculous Duchene-Landeskog-MacKinnon line and managed to keep them off the scoresheet at evens.
- The second line (JVR-Bozak-Parenteau), on the other hand, was pretty aces at evens. At any rate, I wouldn't read too much into the possession with a score as lop-sided as this one.
- Gardiner had 4 points. Insert heart eyes emoji here. There players, Komarov, Bozak, and JVR, had three points.