This game got off to a slow start, with each team registering only one shot apiece through the first six minutes of the first period. Jake Gardiner had the best chance of that early stretch, leading the rush and getting a good backhand on goal that the Habs' goalie had trouble with.
Honestly, I would have liked to see the Leafs dominate this game from the get-go, since they were certainly dressing more regulars, but at least James Reimer was solid in the early goings.
Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 27, 2015
Devon Setoguchi came about as close as you can get to scoring with 7:15 left in the first. A Habs' player on the backcheck bowled over his own goalie, and Seto was left to shoot at a nearly wide-open cage, and somehow, the puck stayed out.
Mark Fraser wound up getting into a fight just a few minutes later as he took on Zach Kassian. To me, this is Fraser trying to prove himself, and the truth is, he is proving himself - to be relatively useless until you need someone punched or have someone take a puck to the skull.
One thing that is becoming increasingly heartening is seeing Gardiner given the opportunity to succeed in many roles, names as a top pairing guy, but also on the power player, and on the penalty kill. OK, so he had power play experience before, but it looks like Mike Babcock is quickly becoming a fan of Gardiner's. Perhaps, for once, Gardiner will get his due in Toronto.
Apart from Gardiner, not many Leafs stood out in the first period, though the team did bring a 10-6 lead in the shot count to the dressing room. That said, you might be surprised to hear which player got the most ice time:
Martin Marincin leads Leafs in ice time at 7:20. Greg Pateryn is at 9:12 for the Habs. Bozak won 4 of 7 draws. #TMLtalk— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) September 27, 2015
Dale Weise got way too open in the Leafs' zone less than a minute into the second period and made it 1-0 Habs. Four Leafs lined up along the strong side boards, and everyone but Gardiner sort of forgot about the weak side. It was a cross-ice pass that didn't give Reimer much of a hope. He probably could committed less to the puck carrier (and thus made his cross-ice slide a lot easier), but probably not by much.
If one of the PTO forwards the Leafs have has to go, my vote is for Curtis Glencross. His decisions with the puck in the offensive zone were just too slow for an NHLer. I hope for his sake that he finds an NHL job this year, but I don't really want it to be the Leafs.
Overall, the second period was a sleepy affair, with both teams content to cycle the puck ad nauseum. TJ Brennan hit the crossbar at the buzzer to end things, and that was probably the most exciting thing that happened.
Shots ended at 14-12 for the Leafs.
To start the third period, Leo Komarov bowled over the Habs' goalie and earned a minor penalty for his
heroism infraction. Fortunately, the Leafs' killed off the penalty easily.
The Hyman-Nylander-Kapanen line hemmed the Habs in for a full minute in an impressive shift that unfortunately did not result in any strong scoring changes. Still. they showed off some skill, and gave the Habs a good run for their money.
As for one of the other PTO players, it appears that Setoguchi may be in tough to make this Leafs' team.
Devin Setoguchi played the first two periods with James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak tonight. Replaced by Leo Komarov to start the third.— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) September 27, 2015
It would be a great story for Seto to make the team, but he really hasn't done much to stand out.
The Leafs took seven minor penalties (plus Fraser's fighting major) by the midway point of the third period, so they didn't exactly spend a ton of time in the Habs' zone trying to tie the game. Babcock pulled Reimer for an extra attacker with over two minutes left, but the Leafs never found an equalizer.
Quite frankly, this was a boring game. Apart from a couple good shifts by the Nylander line and one or two rushes from Gardiner, this Leafs team struggled to create much offensively, and since the Habs did too, this one turned into a bit of a sedative.
The two teams decided to practice playing some 3-on-3 after the game regardless of the score, and James van Riemsdyk put home a beauty for the Leafs.
So uh... it's a tie?
Leafs score in overtime to lose 1-0. wait what— James Mirtle (@mirtle) September 27, 2015