I hear that our commenters have asked for a little more personality and hockey analysis in recaps. Analysis, you’ve got the wrong gal. Personality... does that mean I can freely admit I am killing time before Canada vs USA at 10 when I will get to see actual competitive, exciting hockey, and two goalies who are better than McElhinney? (I don’t even know the starting lineups at this point and I can tell you I’d trust all six options over Curtis, despite his recent good performances.)
It’s a TSN game tonight which means the commentary is at least going to be stuff I can trust to be 75% accurate or so, always helpful.
To the delight of many Kasperi Kapanen draws in tonight. It’ll be interesting to see what he does. Josh Leivo sits out. Curtis McElhinney is in goal because
I did something horrible in a previous life it’s the second night of a back-to-back.
Babcock starts the lines on a bit of a blender with Patrick Marleau centring Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman. William Nylander is relegated to a line with Leo Komarov and Nazem Kadri. Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk get downgraded to a line with Connor Brown.
Something weird happens with the puck and the bench but the puck stays in play to the Leafs confusion and Gustav Nyquist gets an alarmingly good chance.
I didn’t have enough time to finish that sentence before Andreas Borgman has his third goal of the season and we’re up 1-0. Goodness, that went right through Howard. Ray Ferraro decides later it went off Kapanen’s leg so he may have his first.
McElhinney’s clearly going to be busy tonight and if he was more sound positionally my family history of heart disease would not come into play tonight. If I keel over before puck drop at the Shark Tank I will come back and personally haunt this team until they learn defence.
Oh look Leo Komarov did something useful, following an errant puck down into the Red Wings zone and forcing Jimmy Howard to stop play.
If someone else has to take over this recap on my behalf it might be because I have heaved something heavy at the TV trying to get NHL.com’s vile commercials off my television. I know how little the NHL respects women I don’t need to have my skin crawl at every commercial break.
Man, Ron Hainsey’s shot is loud.
That move by Kapanen looked fancy but it was useless as all get out.
Hand passes are Bad so play is stopped, followed by a wicked fast shot by Hyman. He might not be great at scoring but he has some decent reflexes. The Leafs have one of those sessions on the offensive zone where scoring seems inevitable but it’s broken up by Trevor Daley delivering Kadri into Howard with his stick. Daley’s called for interference
Leafs first power play of the night looks... eh. Rielly sends in a shot attempt and then has to hustle back when the Wings get possession. The shorthanded attempt is dissolved and the Leafs get another good chance (Marleau’s involved) but can’t keep the pressure on.
Toronto is outshooting Detroit 8-3 at this point.Red Wings go 8 minutes without recording a shot. My understanding is that’s suboptimal.
JVR ends up in the box after... it looks like dancing really but it’s also called interference on Gustav Nyquist.
Leafs’ defensive quadrangle isn’t quite as impressively tight as Germany’s at Plymouth (Jenny Harss... okay I probably wouldn’t trust her over McElhinney, she has solid D to help her out) but it keeps the Red Wings to one shot even if it doesn’t keep them out of the zone. The one emphatic clear happens as JVR steps on the ice so it’s a good thing it goes straight to Howard instead of for icing.
Athanasiou and Tatar combine for a scary looking chance but McElhinney kick it away. (Shot number 6 on the period for Detroit).
Nylander gets a chance close in on Howard but can’t beat him.
Darren Helm makes what I think was supposed to be an attempt at a wraparound and I swear I can hear McElhinney saying “Really, bro?” from here.
Period ends with the Leafs up on the scoreboard and the shot clock, outshooting Detroit 12-7. While they look better than yesterday they could still pick it up a bit.
Period’s not even 11 seconds old and the puck’s over the glass. Hoping that’s not some sort of sign.
Aren’t teams onto the Leafs long passes by now? Kadri and Nylander combine for some nice work and Gardiner follows it up with a shot from the blueline.
Leafs are making life hard for the Red Wings and force them to ice the puck.
Kadri swipes the puck away from the Leafs zone while on his knees but that’s icing too.
Dammit. Danny Dekeyser grabs a loose puck and sends it off the post and in for his first goal of the season. Tied 1-1
Martin gets called (for interference, of course) after the officials miss a high-sticking call. Zaitsev blocks a shot with his ankle during the penalty kill and limps off. Not the only reason this kill is not my favourite—the Leafs clear the puck more often than in their first kill but the quality of chances the Red Wings get look a lot better too.
Matt Martin makes himself useful when he gets out of the box but not quite to the point of scoring.
Kapanen makes his best effort at a second (? currently the first is still credited to Borgman) goal but Howard handles it.
Red Wings are definitely making me nervous but just as I think that JVR takes off into the Detroit zone with Connor Brown. Brown ends up in the net instead of the puck, courtesy of Niklas Kronwall, so here comes another Leafs power play.
The pp starts inauspiciously with Detroit winning the faceoff and clearing the zone. Leafs get it back but the next time Detroit gets it out Trevor Daley of all people, makes a very nice shot past McElhinney to put the Red Wings up 2-1. It’s Daley’s first as a Red Wing because of course it is.
The goal is followed up by more pressure from Detroit. Toronto gets Howard way out of position but can’t do anything with the wide open net.
Apparently it’s Dylan Larkin’s bobblehead night - except it’s his D-Boz persona from that embarrassing youtube video he put up as a (younger) teenager. That is... a choice from the marketing team.
Leafs are really kind of messy this period—they were just called offside and are a bit porous at the blueline when trying to keep the puck in. They’re currently on a seven minute stretch with no shots - Detroit has caught up and surpassed them on the shot clock by this point.
The last minute of the period is about 90% Toronto and Brown gets the first Leafs shot in 11 minutes. Howard has to play dead man to ensure nothing goes in accidentally. Rielly gets a last-second opporunity but it’s deflected wide.
Will Toronto have enough gas to turn it on in the third after playing yesterday? They’re going to have to if they want to get even a point out of this game.
I missed approximately the first 90 seconds of play due to parental interference but nothing much went on.
Polak is helmetless after something that happened off camera with Abdelkader and that is a terrifying sight.
Leafs have more energy to start this period. No matter, Athanasiou scores a goal that goes in and out so fast play continues til the next time the whistle goes... wow, the post gives Toronto a gift, turns out it didn’t get in after all.
Kapanen gets another opportunity followed by a couple for Zaitsev who appears to be fine despite the block earlier in the game.
Dylan Larkin draws an interference penalty on Bozak, which is totally what we need. Looking at the clock I am going to miss puck drop in San Jose for this nonsense. Leafs better shape up and win.
Nice shorthanded chance created by Brown and Moore but unfortunately it was Brown and Moore so it didn’t make it in the net. Instead, power play goal, Tomas Tatar. 3-1 This is embarrassing. Where’s Meghan Agosta when you need her?
The Leafs might have been sloppy this game but now they’re playing desperate. The commentators get excited about a chance Bozak has with Brown but while I like Brown he’s not Marner or JVR.
Cherrypicking stats: “The Leafs are about to lose their first of the year against an Original Six team” Buddy, the Original Six are pretty lousy this season, that’s not exactly consequential.
Zach Hyman draws a holding call. I’d be more excited if the power play had looked at all impressive tonight.
“Leafs with one goal in the last 137 minutes and counting” Okay, but that one goal came in the last 60 minutes so why does it count less than the one 137 minutes ago?
No shots on goal during the power play. 3:30 left in the game. We’re approaching “do I keep watching this game” time.
McElhinney to the bench around 2:41 left. Red Wings ice the puck with 2:00 to go. Leafs continue to keep it in the zone but there aren’t a lot of shots happening. It appears the puck hasn’t dropped yet in California, Tessa Bonhomme is still talking.
Detroit ices the puck again, then chip it up the ice and draw a penalty. Hainsey goes off for hooking. The Red Wings want an auto-goal but they’ll have to settle for pinning the Leafs in their own zone for the rest of the game.
Well that was terrible. Excuse me, I have real hockey to watch now.