The second half of a back to back with Andersen in net for the second night in a row, on the road against the Penguins? I came into the game just hoping we weren't going to see hat tricks from both Crosby and Kessel.
The EA NHL 16 predictor that CBC uses called a 3-1 win for the Leafs with goals by Crosby and Matthews, GWG by Nylander and 40 saves by Andersen. Welp, let's see
1st period 1-0 Leafs
Matt Murray's in net - maybe we've got a chance? (Oh who am I kidding?)
Leafs looked good early getting a goal in the first 90 seconds
Hyman from Hunwick, as we all predicted. Nice little tip by Hyman to beat both Maata and Murray.
This was a period of fast hockey. Andersen looked sharp, the Leafs players had plenty of hustle, nobody seemed tired. Frankie Corrado even got off a shot! Interestingly, Mike Babcock mixed up the lines for most of the first two periods, putting Brown up with Marner and Hyman and sending Nylander onto Kadri's line.
Say what you will about Matt Martin, seeing Malkin on his ass is always fun!
Seeing Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel playing against each other will never not be weird.
Kris Letang got banged up flying through the door onto the bench to avoid a too many men penalty, but he seemed to recover fine.
Kadri took the first penalty of the game in the final minute - a delay of game for lying on the puck right next to the Leafs net. He could probably have done something else there but I am okay with taking a penalty like that once in a while.
SOG Leafs 10 Pens 14. Not great, but not bad.
Racist old white guy and his yes-man come on, I check to see who else is playing. Hey the Blue Jackets are up 3-1 and Gagner has scored a goal, nice!
2nd period 2-1 Penguins
The Leafs start the period on the penalty kill. They kill it off and Andersen nearly sprang Kadri coming out of the box but the play was blown dead due to a high stick by Malkin.
Frankie Corrado was called for interference and could probably feel the press box calling as he headed off the ice.
The Penguins' power play is good, who knew? The goal was Malkin's but losing the faceoff gave half the unit opportunities on net.
I love that "Marner skates out an icing" is apparently a set play now. Or at least "get Marner well ahead of the play and shoot it up to him, trusting him to beat out the guy covering him" has become a thing. It happened multiple times tonight.
Corrado managed to draw a penalty eight minutes in, although I don't think getting high-sticked in the nose by Kuhnhackl was the result of any cunning plan on Frankie's part. The resulting power play was a mess. Rielly did not make a good case for staying on the power play. Andersen was continually coming out to play the puck because there was no one else back there to do it for him. He also had to make a couple of saves.
Connor Brown blocked a puck with his knee as the teams went back to 5 on 5. He stayed in the game but I wonder if that stiffens up on him over the next couple of days.
Andersen was absolutely bailing out his team in this period, but damn, Matt Murray is good. Zaitsev took a delay of game penalty three quarters of the way into the period and the penalty kill gave him all he could handle. Bozak and Hyman, Hyman and Brown, Komarov and Martin, three great shorthanded chances that Murray managed stop.
Andersen continued to make save after save until, with 18 seconds left, he just got overwhelmed.
SOG Leafs 8 Pens 9. Good by the numbers but man that was not the Leafs' best period ever.
3rd period 4-1 Penguins
There were some nice shifts early on by multiple Leafs lines, but Andersen had to be good again.
Kadri was tripped in front of Murray with no call by the refs. His rep has caught up to him big time.
Peter Holland had a shot fly up off Murray and off the crossbar. If it's not a good goalie, it's bad luck.
The Crosby line were just buzzing around the net and Rust finally got Andersen out on a rebound to score with a ridiculous scooped shot about seven minutes in.
Following this, Babcock decided to put the old lines back together. It didn’t help much. Just over three minutes later, some guy named Crosby got the last goal of the night.
There were a few more excellent chances for the Pens in the minutes following, but unlike the game against the Kings, the Leafs refused to give up. They were moving more slowly and giving up way too many chances, but they still managed to get a few good chances of their own.
With a minute left, Malkin high-sticked Marner (first NHL stitches? first lost tooth? there was a lot of blood). A four minute power play doesn't mean much with 65 seconds to go, but the Leafs did their best, forcing Matt Murray to make a save just as the buzzer went to end the game.
SOG Leafs 13 Pens 20 Another game of 40+ shots against. This has got to stop.
All in all, the Leafs have to get better at limiting shots, which we knew, and Nylander on the Kadri line was not the most genius idea Babcock's ever had, but Andersen has found his groove, the Bozak line looked pretty good (especially Marner) and if Matt Murray wasn't the goalie that he is, the score might have been a little more even.
3. Bryan Rust (1G, 1A)
2. Sidney Crosby (1G, 1A)
1. Matt Murray (35 saves)
Despite the score, Andersen was probably our best player tonight, so have some Freddie highlights