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Maple Leafs late charge isn’t enough, fall 2-1 to Canucks

The Western Canada road trip ends on a low

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Vancouver Canucks Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

  • [Pregame] Tyler Bozak is out tonight with an illness. Josh Leivo draws in on the fourth line, with Patrick Marleau taking Bozak’s spot, and William Nylander taking Marleau’s. The Komarov - Kadri - Nylander line has been poor, but hopefully they can get something going against the Canucks. Defence pairs are as expected - Roman Polak lives to see another day in the lineup. As for the Canucks... well, who cares about their lineup. They have Brock Boeser, the Sedin twins, Chris Tanev, and Bo Horvat. Everyone else is very forgettable.
  • [Pregame] There’s a pregame ceremony for Daniel Sedin achieving his 1000th NHL point. I hate pregame ceremonies, but I love the Sedin twins, so I’ll let it slide.
  • [20:00] Alright, let’s get going.
  • [19:36] On the first shift, Zaitsev wires a slapper which hits Troy Stetcher, who limps off under some duress. We’ll see if he’s impacted.
  • [19:06] Huge “Go Leafs Go” chant early.
  • [17:43] Early on, the new look third line with Marleau look good. He centres for JVR who gets stick-checked before getting a shot away.
  • [16:18] Leafs ice the puck a couple times early, but don’t absorb much punishment for doing so.
  • [15:50] Saying that, it allows the Canucks to get Horvat and Boeser out against the fourth line, and they generate some zone time and point shots out of it.
  • [15:08] Canucks score! Markus Granlund gets it off a wrister from the right circle. The Matthews line can’t get the puck fully out, and in the midst of a change, Granlund had some room to snap it to the top right corner of the net. 1-0 Canucks. That was not a great goal, if I’m honest.
  • [14:05] The Canucks are getting a lot of shots through, though they’re not of particularly high quality. Toronto needs to get generating though.
  • [12:49] The Sedin line is getting a lot of mileage out of offensive zone draws and establishing their cycle game. The strong Canucks chances are arising out of that situation.
  • [12:00] Leivo hooks a Canuck, but doesn’t get called on it. Lucky there.
  • [9:40] God, the Canucks are killing the Leafs right now. Komarov just had a shift where he gave the puck away twice in his own zone. And if you’re Leo, you’re not doing anything to make up for that. Absolutely horrific.
  • [8:40] Canucks score! After an incredibly long shift in the Leafs offensive zone, Alex Edler scores on a delayed penalty. Henrik Sedin passes to Edler at the point, and he shoots another one past Andersen. 2-0 Canucks.
  • [8:35] The Leafs need to start playing. Polak was the one who took the penalty by the way. He also screened Andersen on the goal. Not his best shift.
  • [8:20] The Matthews line gets some point blank chances, but can’t put it away.
  • [7:14] Leo has looked awful. Just horrific.
  • [6:22] Moore and Leivo with a 2-on-1. Moore shoots, Markstrom saves. Would rather he managed to get it over to Leivo there, but Edler did a good job of cutting off the passing angle.
  • [5:43] The Leafs are not connecting passes right now. Maybe it’s a bouncing puck or just general sloppiness, but it’s not good from them thus far.
  • [5:17] Matthews with another chance in front, off a feed from Hyman.
  • [4:50] Don’t look now, but Kadri’s line is getting buried relative to the rest of the team. While Leo has been the most culpable of anyone on that line, it’s hard to blame him for all of their underperformance.
  • [4:10] Another pass bounces of Komarov’s stick and leads to a minute of zone time for the Canucks.
  • [2:22] The Matthews line is the only one that has come to play. But even with them, it’s so obvious that everything will be fed to Matthews and he’s getting double-teamed whenever possible.
  • [1:40] Leivo draws a hooking call. Leafs to the power play, and have a chance to get back in it.
  • [0:00] Nothing doing on the power play, and the Leafs go to the first intermission down two. That was ungood.

Second Period

  • [19:06] Matthews and Nylander are reunited because of the residual power play and create a couple nice chances.
  • [16:28] Babcock has shifted the lines. Matthews and Nylander are reunited, Marner gets moved to Kadri’s line, and Brown gets moved down to Marleau’s.
  • [15:13] Marleau lays a huge hit on Tanev. That was cool.
  • [14:12] Strong fourth line shift and they draw another penalty. They’ve been good tonight.
  • [13:14] Nylander gets iron, but no twine on the power play.
  • [12:21] Jacob Markstrom is ON ONE right now. He’s made a few insane saves including on a high tip from Kadri.
  • [10:40] Matthews almost feeds Hyman for a tap-in, but Daniel Sedin gets a stick on the pass.
  • [8:55] Marner takes a penalty after that new Kadri line loses a defensive zone draw. Canucks get their first power play.
  • [8:00] Freddie needs to be perfect now. No margin for error, especially as Markstrom looks like he could get the shutout.
  • [6:56] A few decent chances for the Canucks on that power play, but Andersen stops them all.
  • [6:05] It has not been a fortunate game for Troy Stecher, as a backhand shot by Marner catches him clean in the face. Hopefully he’s alright.
  • [3:12] The Leafs are generating solid chances - they finally woke up this period. But they might have dug themselves a hole Markstrom won’t let them get out of.
  • [1:29] The Canucks nearly strike back! Virtanen gets a breakaway, loses his stick, gets it back, and shoots (all on the same breakaway), but Andersen saves.
  • [0:00] The second ends the way it starts - Leafs still down 2. That said, this period was a much better effort, even accounting for score effects. Markstrom is the reason the Canucks are leading.

Third Period

  • [19:16] Matthews line generates a bunch of great chances, Markstrom saves. This is not a recording.
  • [18:10] Good god, Markstrom, please stop! You’re just hurting your team’s lottery odds.
  • [15:53] Rielly breaks up a 2-on-1. If Vancouver scores to ice the game, it’ll be off an odd man rush. The Leafs are being super aggressive now, as they need to be.
  • [13:37] More of the same. Leafs pressing but not scoring.
  • [12:43] The Sedins work more of their magic as Daniel feeds Eriksson right in front. Great save by Andersen to keep the Leafs in with a shot.
  • [8:57] Strong shift again from Vancouver as they hem in the Marleau and Moore lines for about a minute. They’ve pushed back a little more recently, and the Leafs chances are looking dire.
  • [7:06] Zaitsev airmails a simple breakout pass and ices the puck. One of those frustrating plays from him.
  • [6:25] It annoys me when Hughson describes a Nylander pass to Polak as “too hot to handle” when it’s really just Polak being Polak. As I was writing that, Andersen slipped behind the net and nearly gifted the 3-0 goal to the Canucks.
  • [3:10] Rielly fans a shot on a wide-open net, and that is so annoying!
  • [2:52] But he makes up for it! A Rielly point shot is deflected in front by James van Riemsdyk and Markstrom is finally beaten. 2-1 Canucks. And the Leafs have about 3 minutes to get another.
  • [1:14] Holy shit. I can’t recap that last 90 seconds, but it involved Matthews saving a goal on an empty net, and the Canucks icing the puck. That’s where we are now.
  • [0:00] Aww.. game over, Leafs run out of time. Hard to feel terrible about that game, if I’m honest. Freddie let in a soft goal, the Canucks were opportunistic, and Markstrom played amazing.
  • On the Leafs side of things, Komarov - Kadri - Nylander continues to not work (they got killed during the first period, even relative to the team) and immediately improved with Marner. Hopefully we find a solution to that soon.
  • I thought Gardiner and Zaitsev played well, and the Matthews and Moore lines were solid all night. Matthews’ group obviously got better with Willie though.
  • Marleau continues to be solid, and JVR is having the contract year of his dreams.
  • Oh well... 4 out of 6 on the road trip through Canada isn’t bad. The Leafs have a break until Wednesday, when they welcome the Flames into town. See you then.