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Game Recap: Leafs beat Canucks 6-3

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With a combined 171 penalty minutes, the emphasis is on "beat".

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews and Marner: two of the best players on the ice tonight
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

First period

Neither team started out with much in the way of sustained pressure. Lots of back and forth, with the Leafs in particular having trouble carrying anything through the neutral zone.

About seven minutes in there was a scramble in front of Andersen's net that required some skill and luck, but ultimately nothing came of it.

Marner followed that up a few minutes later with some nice moves and a couple of chances around the Vancouver net, but Leafs Nemesis Ryan Miller had it handled.

Matt Martin got into it with Brendan Gaunce early in the second half leading to some four on four hockey which led to this:

Zaitsev around the back of the net, nice little pass to Kadri who doesn't hesitate to put it in the back of the net.

JVR went off for interference a couple minutes later but the only damage done was to my nerves when Andersen attempted to pokecheck the puck. It flew up in the air and landed down almost right in front of him again. That could have gone very badly. Seconds after the penalty expired, van Riemsdyk forced a turnover and combined with Komarov to get the puck to the net, where Tyler Bozak took care of business.

Derek Dorsett followed that up almost immediately with the Canucks' first goal in several games, which was a little deflating as a fan but seemed to ignite something for both teams as the pace of play stepped up a bit in the last few minutes of the period.

Second period

The Matthews line had a good period, with a number of great opportunities and a couple of posts. Andersen was busier on the other end of the ice than he had been in the first, but whether it was calm, well-positioned saves or lying on his back in the net, he kept it all out. Kadri had another close one before we ran into a long series of special teams play.

Penalty kill (Polak, interference) , four on four (Horvat, hooking) , a short four on three (Hansen, high sticking) for the Leafs, and then with 32 seconds left on the high sticking penalty, Marner Did A Thing:

As is becoming tradition, Tyler Bozak became the lucky recipient of Marner's magic, although how Mitch knew Bozak would be able to receive the pass much less get a shot off in the position he was in is anyone's guess. Gardiner got the secondary assist on this one which is good — nice things should happen to Gards, it makes people yell at him less — and bad because while he didn't manageto do anything spectacularly dumb tonight things still aren't quite clicking for him. Passes to no one in particular in the middle of the ice, losing the puck behind the net... he's got to get it together.

Things fell apart defensively for a little bit after the power play - Jannik Hansen managed to come in all alone and make Andersen work. Freddie had that one handled but Henrik Sedin got time and space in front of the net and that didn't go as well.

Bozak came close to a hat trick in the dying seconds of the period but the score stayed at 3-2.

Third Period

The period started with the score at 3-2 and the total penalty minutes at 14.

Ryan Miller had to be good early as the Leafs had three excellent chances in the first minute-plus of the period. One was by Bozak, who really wanted that hat trick.

However, as much as he wanted the hat trick, he wanted a win more. Instead of carrying the puck in for a shot of his own, he set up Marner with a great pass for a beauty of a goal.

A subsequent breakway by Marner ended with the shot going wide. Matthews hit yet another post. Who did the next goal come from? Ben Smith and Nikita Soshnikov, naturally.

Should that have been icing? That should maybe have been icing. Do I care? No, I do not.

This is where things started to get stupid.

Rielly laid a late open ice hit on Hansen that seemed otherwise clean and wasn't called for anything. Kadri followed it up with a late, high hit on Daniel Sedin. The shot Daniel got off before the hit actually went in for a goal to make it 5-3 but that was hard to notice as Hansen had Kadri up against the glass and was intent on beating the stuffing out of him. It was a bad hit and Kadri might get a call from DOPS for it. I still hate the fighting.

Kadri was called for charging and fighting, Hansen was called for fighting and instigating. They both got tossed for misconduct.

Less than two minutes later, still on four on four, Nylander and Matthews created a chance... and Jake Gardiner buried it.

For all he needs to smarten up on a number of things, he knew what to do with that puck.

And that was basically it for the actual hockey of the game. The rest of the period went like this:

11:27 Leo Komarov, fighting against Derek Dorsett

11:27 Derek Dorsett, fighting against Leo Komarov

11:27 Derek Dorsett, Instigator against Leo Komarov served by Sven Baertschi

11:34 Alexandre Burrows Instigator against Morgan Rielly served by Jake Virtanen

11:34 Alexandre Burrows Fighting against Morgan Rielly

11:34 Alexandre Burrows Misconduct against Morgan Rielly

11:34 Penalty against Leo Komarov

11:34 Morgan Rielly Fighting against Alexandre Burrows

14:52 Troy Stecher Fighting against Matt Martin

14:52 Matt Martin Roughing against Brandon Sutter

14:52 Matt Martin Fighting against Brandon Sutter

14:52 Matt Martin Misconduct against Brandon Sutter

14:52 Ryan Miller Goalie leave crease against Matt Martin

14:52 Ryan Miller Game misconduct

14:52 Ryan Miller Game misconduct against Matt Martin

14:52 Frederik Andersen Goalie leave crease

14:52 Frederik Andersen Game misconduct

14:52 Connor Carrick Misconduct

14:52 Brendan Gaunce Misconduct against Matt Martin

In total 157 penalty minutes were issued in ONE PERIOD. I know some people love this stuff but if I wasn't recapping I would have changed the channel to the Columbus game for some three on three overtime. I watch hockey for the hockey, not the stupid dick measuring stuff that normal grownups don't bring to their place of work.

Fortunately for the Leafs, Jhonas Enroth has some excellent reflexes because he had to put them to use right at the beginning of his five minutes of work. It's nice to have a reliable back up.

If you got this far, congratulations! Here's Marner and Matthews being ridiculous on the bench: