The Toronto Maple Leafs headed down to Washington DC for the first time since the playoffs last spring. Now, a win in October can’t make up for a playoff defeat, but it’s still pretty good.
This game can be summed up in one word: chances. The Maple Leafs shot and shot and shot, and missed and missed and missed. Let’s jump right to the money shot, because we were all teased for far too long when the game was actually happening. Sometimes there’s such a thing as too much foreplay Leafs.
Connor Brown fights everyone around the Washington Capitals net, knocks over Dmitri Orlov, and after a point shot from Morgan Rielly, he just keeps pounding on the puck until it gets past Braden Holtby.
There was a second goal as well, an empty netter from Nazem Kadri as he was being hooked:
Overall for this game, the Maple Leafs played the Capitals well, and took many excellent shots and attempts, but just couldn’t get enough at the net and past Holtby. Things were pretty consistent on the top line aside from the scoring, as Zach Hyman kept on missing passes. It’s good to have things be reliable.
The Maple Leafs were better than the Capitals tonight when they picked their shooting spots, and the good guys defense showed up (when they left Connor Carrick and Calle Rosen on the bench).
Look at all those shots from right in front of the Capitals net. Just pounding Holtby with pucks. The Capitals on the other hand were kept well away from Frederik Andersen, doing most of their shooting from up in the slot and off to the side, but when they got close Freddie was there to stop them:
I took a shot at the third pair there, and they were benched for the vast majority of the game, only playing 12:39 (Carrick) and 11:15 (Rosen) each. The Maple Leafs bottom pairing defense is going to be a story all year.
Even strength the Maple Leafs were the better team, and on special teams, well, either both were bad or both were good depending on how you look at it. Neither team scored on the power play, and some of the penalties were interesting:
- Patrick Marleau was nailed for tripping Tom Wilson, which, come on, it’s Tom Wilson.
- Nazem Kadri was called for closing his hand on the puck, a real penalty that was deserved I guess, but it’s weird to see it.
- Nathan Walker on the Capitals shamed an entire continent by holding Nazem Kadri. To be fair if I met Naz, I’d hold him too much too.
- Alex Ovechkin high-sticked Leo Komarov but thankfully Leo’s eyes were protected by his visor.
- Tyler Bozak ruined the power play when he slashed poor Devante Smith-Pelley.
The Maple Leafs PK was 3/3 tonight which is good, but then the potassium benzoate of an 0/2 PP shows up and makes want to just go home.
Tonight was a great game because the Maple Leafs won.
Tonight was a frustrating game because the Maple Leafs tossed the puck around the ice like it was on fire, and also Auston Matthews kept passing the puck instead of shooting. Yes, sharing is caring, but just shoot the damn puck. As arvind said tonight:
auston's priorities in the offensive zone should be:
1) am i open? if so, shoot.
2) is willie open? if so, pass to him
3) is hyman open? if so, shoot.
Tonight was a bad game because........the 5/6 D?
Nah, it was a Maple Leafs win. It was a good night.