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Leafs 4 - Flyers 3 (OT) : Toronto wins game, annoys fans

Both fanbases walk away upset.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
First Period

Welcome to one of the most highly anticipated Leafs games of the year... the one where they can clinch last place! Really, both fanbases are rooting for a Philly win here, but it would be quite appropriate for Toronto to blow the doors off Philly and make us all sweat in game 82.

  • [18:15] Tentative start to the game thus far. We'll see how it plays going forward. The Leafs are in a position where they have nothing to lose, and the Flyers have everything.

  • [17:23] Nice shift from Philly. They hem the Brennan-Campbell pairing in the Leafs zone (likely the Leafs weakest pairing). I bet we see the Flyers try and match their stars against that pairing as much as possible. I'm curious if/how Babcock tries to avoid that.

  • [14:32] Nylander scores! 1-0 Leafs. After some sustained pressure, a bad change by Giroux effectively creates a 5v4 in the Flyers zone. Marincin takes his time and spots Nylander walking through the back door, and since he is not named Michael Grabner, he scores it quite comfortably.

  • [13:02] Pretty end to end right now. Shot count is even thus far, but the Flyers really only had one shift of real pressure. Leafs have done well since.

  • [12:30] Sportsnet has the cheesiest graphics I've ever seen for a generic 'Keys to the Game' segment.

  • [11:10] Looks like the lines are sort of in a blender. Parenteau seems to be with Bozak and Laich. I guess Lindberg has been demoted for the night.

  • [10:10] I like putting Gauthier with Grabner and Boyes. That's a defensively responsible line.

  • [9:12] Right on cue, Nylander has a great give and go with Gardiner and rings a backhand off the post. Very near to his second of the night there. The commentators seem to be quite enamoured with his game, and there's discussion about whether he'll be a #1 or #2 centre. Hard to determine as of yet, but I'd bet on the former.

  • [8:07] The Leafs are carrying play quite nicely now, but not really getting much in the way of chances. Bozak's line gets possession and Nylander's line reaps the rewards with some offensive zone time.

  • [7:15] A terrible giveaway by the Flyers defense gives Kapanen some room in the offensive zone, but he gets checked off the puck quite easily. Kapanen is an interesting prospect who's really flying under the radar right now in the media. He's not totally ready for the NHL right now, in my opinion (not that he's clearly overwhelmed either). I'm curious why we've called him up in lieu of others.

  • [5:41] Some nice forechecking by Bozak and Parenteau leads to continued offensive zone time and some nice point shots from the Leafs defense. Bozak continues to impress me. He's been legitimately good this season! I'm as surprised as anyone, but it's true. I think we're well past the point of trading him for the sake of trading him. After this season he has 2 years at $4.2M left. Whatever you think of him, he has real offensive talent, and I don't think that's a terrible deal anymore (especially as most of the term has expired on it).

  • [5:06] Babcock leaning on the Nylander line for offensive zone faceoffs.

  • [4:52] And wow, it pays off in spades. After the Flyers get it out of their zone, Nylander intercepts an offensive zone pass of theirs with all three Philly forwards behind him. He races ahead and spots Greening ahead of both Flyers defensemen (one of them stumbled). A nice pass from him (and great take from Greening) leaves him in alone, and he makes no mistake. 2-0 Leafs. Nylander hates Auston Matthews.

  • [3:48] Good to see Brennan getting rewarded for his killer AHL play. He's a Philly guy, so I'm sure this game means something to him.

  • [3:14] Sam Carrick takes a pretty dumb penalty in the offensive zone, hitting a Flyer from behind after Gauthier did some nice forechecking to create a potential turnover off a change. Penalty is given for interference.

  • [2:54] Man, this Flyers PP has some serious talent. Gostisbehere, Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds, Schenn... that's impressive.

  • [2:09] Despite a nice Simmonds screen, Bernier calmly deals with a Gostisbehere point shot. He looks steady thus far. Where was that to start the year?

  • [1:29] The Flyers (first) PP has an interesting set up. They overload one side in the hopes of drawing the defense towards them and leaving Voracek, who obviously has a great shot. I guess it's similar to what Washington does with Ovechkin. But obviously, Ovechkin gets more respect from that spot, so defenses behave differently.

  • [0:46] The commentators are being very critical of the Flyers, but it's not like the Leafs are running roughshod over them. It's really been a couple lapses (Giroux's change on the first goal, a stumbling defenseman on the second) that have them behind. The Leafs have done well to have a lot of possession, but really, haven't been turning it into much in the way of shots.

  • [0:06] Nylander has created something on every shift. Seems to be playing with a lot of confidence. I've made a couple jokes about how he's ruining our draft pick (we're still decently secure in finishing last if we win this game), but honestly, it's incredibly cool to see a good Leafs prospect. Here's to the same thing from Mitch next year.
Second Period

  • Pre-period thoughts: The panel was praising Marincin for his quietly excellent year during the intermission. Last time I did one of these recaps, I was wrong about everything during the game, but I will forever be insufferable about how bullish I was (and continue to be) about Marincin. He's a RFA this year, and with our front office, I expect him to be retained. Given his low point totals, he could come cheap too.

  • [19:49] Laich and Simmonds doing some high quality jawing at the draw. Refs separate them, but nothing else occurs.

  • [19:31] The Flyers get one back in a hurry. 2-1 game! Bozak is a little slow keeping up with Couturier, who manages to center the puck, where Schenn gets his stick on it and redirects past a nonplussed Bernier. Really excellent play from Couturier (one of my favourite players). Bozak was slow getting to him, but he seemed to have him contained when he centered it.

  • [18:59] The commentary mentions Schenn's elevated S% this year... I feel SN broadcasts have gotten a little smarter recently.

  • [18:41] Tons of energy in the building now. It's really rocking. Lindberg takes a high sticking penalty, and its a 4 minute power play. Big chance for the Flyers to get back in it.

  • [18:21] Gauthier has already earned Babcock's trust to use on the PK. Wins a faceoff back to Marincin who clears easily. Nice start to the PK for the Leafs.

  • [17:00] The Flyers finally get some real pressure on it, and it leads to a couple point shots with traffic. Bernier looks calm in dispatching them.

  • [16:31] Flyers score, but it's immediately waved off for goalie interference. Giroux undresses everyone and but falls down before the shot with the puck landing on the stick of Voracek. The Flyers captain slides into the net and in the refs view, interferes with Bernier before Voracek's shot goes in. Philly uses their challenge, and the call on the ice stands. Commentators agree with the call.

  • [16:18] The Flyers crowd is incandescent with rage.

  • [16:13] The Leafs PK got a nice rest during that challenge. Of course, so did the Flyers PP.

  • [15:50] The Leafs are at sixes and sevens here, and Bernier bails them out with some more excellent saves.

  • [15:21] Feels like the Flyers first unit has played all of this PP.

  • [14:34] Leafs kill it off, and the boo-birds return from the fans. Tough crowd.

  • [13:27] The Leafs finally get some zone time this period, a product of the Bozak line once again.

  • [13:16] Nylander matched up with the Giroux line. Nice test for him. Generates some nice zone time, but no difficult shots. Lindberg gives possession away cheaply. Despite the lack of shot attempts, that was an impressive shift. Going even with the Giroux line is a win.

  • [10:57] Ryan White gets a free shot from the top of the circle against the Campbell-Brennan pairing, but fans on it. Big miss.

  • [10:38] GRABNER BREAKAWAY GOAL ALERT!!!!! Grabner intercepts a Simmonds pass and gets a breakway. More shockingly, he scores, with a beautiful move! 3-1 Leafs.

  • [9:50] Shot quality differential tends to even out to a fairly narrow spread over long periods of time, but it's absolutely a factor in single games, and all of the Leafs goals have been ridiculously good chances. No real way to fault Mason on any of them.

  • [8:05] Gauthier is a human fast forward button. He seems like such a low-event player. Nothing happens for him or his opponents. Though his line does draw a penalty, and gives the Leafs a chance to potentially increase their lead further.

  • [6:54] The Flyers get a 2v1 on the PK, but good backchecking by the Leafs and fatigue on the part of the Philly penalty killers turns it into nothing.

  • [5:14] In the aftermath of the PP, the Leafs maintain possession in the Flyers zone, but can't do much with it.

  • [3:47] Flyers playing with real desperation now, and get a couple great chances after forcing an icing. Bernier stands tall once more. He's playing very well.

  • [3:11] Kapanen's linemates at ES are Carrick and Froese. Not exactly giving Kappy a lot to work with in the way of offensive talent.

  • [1:38] More pressure from the Flyers, as Giroux gets a clean shot away from the slot after a NZ turnover. Marincin high sticks him after the shot, and Philly goes to the PP again.

  • [1:22] Gauthier has taken about 4 straight DZ draws. It's clear that's his role under Babcock. Not sure if he starts next year with the Leafs, but if he does, he'll almost certainly maintain that role.

  • [0:43] More great chances from the Flyers PP, who are doing everything but scoring. Leafs survive the period though, still up 3-1. More boo birds.
Third Period
  • [20:00] Leafs still have 30 seconds of PP to kill off. Looks like they'll do so with no issues.

  • [18:43] Streit dances around Corrado (who loses an edge) and fires a shot from the top of the circle. As per the usual in this game, Bernier is up to the task.

  • [18:25] A nice play from Streit takes away a breakaway from Greening (he has some shifty speed). The Nylander line is dangerous once again.

  • [17:10] That's the Grabner breakaway I'm used to.

  • [15:45] Mad scrambles in front of the net as Philly continues to push for an equalizer. Somehow Ryan White misses an empty net.

  • [14:44] The desperation I mentioned coming from the Flyers in the 2nd is more pronounced now. Throwing everything at the net. They need this win badly, and are dominating play currently.

  • [13:30] I know we're rooting for the Leafs to lose to some extent, but man, 13 more minutes of Flyers domination isn't something I look forward to.

  • [12:54] Unsurprisingly, the Nylander line breaks the spell of pressure, generating a shot off the rush.

  • [12:45] Nylander seems to be matched up a lot against Giroux's line. Obviously a very tough matchup for him, but his line has been pretty even in terms of possession (likely positive once including score adjustments).

  • [11:27] Flyers score! 3-2 Leafs. And now we have a game. Andrew MacDonald scores after a giveaway by Jake causes a mad scramble in front of the Leafs net. An unchallenged shot with traffic in front beats Bernier, and now the Leafs will have to deal with an energized Flyers team.

  • [11:00] Real racous crowd now as Bernier makes a great stop on Schenn. Gonna be a tough 11 minutes if the Leafs are to win.
  • [10:19] I feel like Giroux has played every shift. He's EVERYWHERE. Intense battles all over the ice now.
  • [9:08] Just about every Leafs line is getting pinned back. The Nylander line just got its turn in the DZ.

  • [8:45] Every shift where the Leafs don't eat 5 shot attempts is a success at this point.

  • [8:05] This is definitely a good chance for the Leafs to get some high-intensity reps against an opponent who is throwing the kitchen sink at them. I guess that's the beauty of a team with no expectations... everything is a learning experience.

  • [6:55] The pace has slowed slightly, though the ice is obviously still tilted against Toronto.

  • [5:53] Voracek gets sprung by Giroux and gets a nice rush shot... Bernier stymies him again. He's first star (or last star, depending on how much you want the Leafs to lose this) today.

  • [3:27] Next few minutes pass in the same way as the last few have. Flyers getting most of the possession and shots, but the Leafs are holding firm and occassionaly threatening with some offense of their own.

  • [1:44] Flyers are sort of slow to pull the goalie. I'd expect them to do so earlier.

  • [1:31] Flyers ice the puck, making it harder for them to pull him now. Pressure from the Leafs could finish it off here.

  • [0:55] FLYERS SCORE! 3-3 game. A very Wayne Simmonds goal as he redirects a point shot to tie the game. Can't say it wasn't deserved.

  • Regulation ends and we head to OT. A Leafs loss in OT/SO keeps them in last and greatly helps their chances of staying in last.
Overtime

  • [3:25] Leafs get a PP (sort of soft call), drawn by Gardiner.
  • [2:09] Gardiner scores! Goal is under review, but it looks like it will stand.
Kind of a mixed bag for the Leafs. Some of their young guys sparkled, but of course, the 2 points makes the chance of Matthews a little more remote. Really, the Leafs got fortunate today in how they won the game, largely being bailed out by their goaltender and some opportune finishing on good chances. Tune on on Saturday as the season comes to a close on HNIC against the Devils.

Goals

1-0 Nylander:

2-0 Grabner:

1-2 Schenn:

3-1 Grabner:

2-3 MacDonald:

3-3 Simmonds:

4-3 Gardiner