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No Cali For Young Men: Leafs 2 - Kings 3 (SO)

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Leafs lose a shootout, blow another lead

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Los Angeles Kings Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

  • [20:00] Another pivotal game in the California road trip looms tonight for the Leafs, as they take on a Kings team that is the antithesis of Leafs hockey. Old, methodical, great defensively.... the Leafs are looking at their inverse tonight. Will they come out on top? Lets see.
  • [20:00] Jarome Iginla is also making his Kings debut, and will be dragged up and down the ice by Anze Kopitar.
  • [19:14] Nice start for the Leafs, as the Matthews group capitalizes on a scrambled neutral zone play and gets some zone time against Kopitar’s line and Doughty’s defensive pair. Nylander goes around the net and centres to Gardiner, but his shot doesn’t make it through the mass of bodies.
  • [17:56] A great start for the Leafs! JVR gets a cycle going, and shifts the puck to Marner on the goal line. Marner immediately centres it, where it redirects off Bozak and ends up behind Quick. 1-0 Leafs.
  • [17:56] Really a phenomenal start for the Leafs, who needed that after a rough game in San Jose.
  • [17:25] The Kings nearly answer back immediately! The Leafs fourth line is the victim of a classic Kings cycle, which results in a goalmouth scramble.
  • [15:03] The Leafs run this neat set play breakout from their own zone, where a stretch pass looks like its going to the centre (Bozak in this case), but he just acts as a decoy and leaves it for a streaking winger to beat the icing. Didn’t lead to much in this case, but a neat idea.
  • [13:55] Also, in the wake of the San Jose game, the Leafs have shifted their top two defensive pairs. Rielly/Marchenko and Gardiner/Zaitsev are now the units. I expect the latter to be treated as the Leafs ‘first pair’.
  • [13:15] I’ve been watching the third pair closely for a while, and it seems clear to me that the issue is so much more a Polak thing than a Hunwick thing. He’s just a step behind, so often. Anyways, he just took a penalty. It came off the back of some cycle play from the Kings where Polak failed to get to an area pass from his forward quickly enough.
  • [11:17] Strong PK from the Leafs so far - about 35 seconds left.
  • [10:32] The leafs kill the power play, but LA maintains control in the offensive zone in the aftermath.
  • [9:38] Bozak does his best Nylander impression, as he circles the zone with possession, and directs a shot on net. It seems to fool Quick a little, but goes wide.
  • [8:13] Real nice pace to the game so far, which is to say, the Leafs are imposing their game on the Kings more than the reverse.
  • [6:31] The Leafs used that set play I mentioned again, for Marner. Seems like it might be a thing.
  • [3:47] I’ve said a couple times that Nylander lives on the line between patience and over-handling. There’s been a few instances tonight where he’s crossed that line. He’s normally very good at making those decisions. He might be better served just whipping it on net, with that shot of his.
  • [2:53] JVR looks engaged today. Makes a classic power forward move, going wide on a defenseman, shrugging him off, and taking it hard to the net. Nearly gets rewarded with a goal.
  • [2:53] SN using SportsClubStats playoff odds on their broadcasts is frustrating to me as a nerd, because their methodology is honestly kind of trash. Use Micah McCurdy’s, or Dom L’s (not trying to spell that last name). Both far better.
  • [0:00] Leafs end the first period up by a goal, and playing much better than they did last night. Good start to the game.

Second Period

  • [18:28] Slow start to the period, with pretty low danger shots in both directions.
  • [17:27] The Leafs take another penalty - this time it’s Bozak, for tripping Kopitar. Somewhat soft call, in my opinion, but justifiable.
  • [16:17] Solid kill from the Leafs - the Kings PP does not seem overly threatening thus far. One of the few teams to ignore the trend of 4F/1D with the man advantage.
  • [15:01] Among Mitch Marner’s suite of offensive skills, one thing that goes under the radar is his willingness to track back with possession of the puck to regroup. It all kind of stems from his confidence with the puck, I suppose, but he’s not afraid to lose ground in order to gain it.
  • [13:57] Neither team is really generating high quality shots on net, if I’m honest.
  • [13:02] Remember how I said there was a nice pace to this game? Not happening anymore.
  • [12:42] Leafs score! Boyle wins a faceoff back to Zaitsev, and his point shot beats Quick. 2-0 Leafs.
  • [10:47] Nice bit of protection for the Leafs, who as we know, are not the best defensively. And as I type that, Bozak falls in the defensive zone (or gets tripped) which leads to a Kings player open in front of the net. He doesn’t score, mercifully.
  • [8:10] Zaitsev stumbles as he pivots, and Jeff Carter nearly takes advantage, but is at too sharp an angle to do anything.
  • [8:02] Commentary from Brigstew - “the Leafs Suck chant (I think that's what they're saying?) would have a lot more punch were the Leafs not winning 2-0”
  • [6:51] Matt Martin gets an almost-break (!) and makes a really nice pass (!!) to Soshnikov, but it gets intercepted at the last second.
  • [5:45] Bad icing call against the Kings, to be honest. Gaborik had a step on Gardiner.
  • [5:20] God, I hate watching the Kings. It’s illegal for nice goals to be scored in a Kings game.
  • [2:34] My internet cut out for like, three minutes there, so I don’t know if anything happened there. Anyways, Hyman gets interfered with, and the Leafs go to the power play for the first time.
  • [1:22] Well, this is a shitty power play.
  • [0:47] That was pretty. Kadri finds a streaking Bozak going backdoor, but Quick moves brilliantly to stop it.
  • [0:28] In the aftermath of the Leafs power play, Marner takes a penalty, as he hooked Carter in the neutral zone.
  • [0:00] Leafs kill the first part of the power play, and end the period up 2. Let’s hope they can close this out.

Third Period

  • [20:00] Leafs start the pivotal 3rd on the PK. A kill here would be big, and prevent the Kings from getting too close in the early stages.
  • [19:33] Well, so much for that. Anze Kopitar gets the power play goal, and its 2-1 Leafs. His shot actually hits Zaitsev in the side of the head before redirecting in. Talk about adding insult to injury.
  • [19:31] Now the Leafs have a one goal lead to defend, and the rest of the period to give it up. I think we know how this ends.
  • [18:26] The commentators praise the Kings’ physical play, which, as far as I can tell, is to cross-check the Leafs players and hope it doesn’t get called.
  • [18:03] Well, that was predictable. 2-2 game. Tanner Pearson ties the game, after Marchenko loses his man in the defensive zone on a busted coverage. Sigh.
  • [17:55] So that lead has evaporated. Nothing new for this team.
  • [16:08] The Leafs look so shaky right now.
  • [14:58] Nylander and Matthews go God-mode (with Hyman his usual pestering self) and create a great chance to stop the bleeding. But Quick stops it, and we remain knotted at 2’s.
  • [13:22] The game has opened up slightly, at least by Kings standards.
  • [11:51] Hyman with the most Hyman shift of all time. Chases a dump in, recovers the puck between two Kings, passes it back to Matthews. Eventually Nylander finds him literally all alone in front of the net, but he slips and can’t get hold of the puck. Chance wasted.
  • [10:04] Brown races to a loose puck before the Kings D, and creates a 2 on 1 with him and Komarov. They just fail to connect on the pass. Great play by the defenseman (didn’t catch who) on the Kings.
  • [9:02] Brown is on fire right now. He makes a great play to centre the puck to Kadri, who taps it on net, but it hits Quick, who had no idea where it was.
  • [6:34] I wonder how much these teams will sit back as the rest of the game progresses. Both could really use the point.
  • [5:40] Oh wow, Andersen saves the game for the Leafs, as Nic Dowd takes a centring feed from Dustin Brown, but can’t bury it.
  • [3:00] Yeah, not a tonne has happened as the game nears its end.
  • [2:44] Until then. A scramble draw in the Leafs zone leads to a host of Kings furiously jamming at Andersen’s pads. The puck however, stays out, and the Leafs catch a break.
  • [1:47] Kadri’s line returns the favour to the Kings, as they buzz around the net and narrowly miss.
  • [0:40] The refs have been a little whistle-happy on offsides. Have called down plays that definitely weren’t offside.
  • [0:00] End of regulation. Leafs get a point.

Overtime/Shootout

  • [5:00] 3 on 3 is always chaotic, but lets see what happens here. The star power is out to start - Matthews/Nylander/Rielly up against Carter/Kopitar/Doughty.
  • [4:42] The Leafs get the opening draw, and Nylander circles the zone to find Rielly with room for a point shot. Quick finds the puck among the bodies in front of him.
  • [4:08] Gardiner rushes in and gets a shot away, but Quick saves it.
  • [3:34] Toffoli now with a breakaway, but Andersen makes the save on his backhand attempt.
  • [2:34] Bozak is making a real habit of missing open nets. Bozak finds a rebound and an empty net in front of him, but he shoots wide. As it goes the other way, Carter and Toffoli get a 2 on 1, but Andersen saves. Hectic stuff, as expected.
  • [0:59] Rielly has terrible offensive instincts for a guy with the physical tools he does. He so rarely makes the high level passes that the better offensive defencemen in the league do. His default move is to blindly skate forward as fast as possible.
  • [0:30] Gardiner and Marner get a 2 on 1, but Gardiner’s shot gets blocked by the skate blade of Doughty.
  • [0:00] Off we go to the shootout.

Shootout

  • Carter: misses
  • Matthews: misses
  • Pearson: misses
  • Marner: misses
  • Kopitar: scores
  • Nylander: misses

Predictably, the Leafs lose in the shootout. Nice to get a point, annoying that we consistently fail to get the second.