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Demoralizing Win: Canucks 2 - Leafs 3 (SO)

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The Leafs deserve little, but get a win

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

  • [20:00] Let’s get started.
  • [18:55] Matthews gets pressed in his own zone by Brock Boeser and turns the puck over, leading to a point shot and rebound that was dangerous. Not a great first shift for that line.
  • [18:32] Kadri feeds Komarov all alone in the slot, but Jacob Markstrom denies him.
  • [17:47] Babcock chasing matchups, as per usual. Kadri will be used against the Sedin twins, Matthews against Boeser, and Bozak against whoever the Vancouver third line is.
  • [16:42] Chris Tanev blocks a Morgan Rielly shot with his face and goes down. He’s bleeding and has to leave the ice - big loss for Vancouver. He’s comfortably their best defenseman.
  • [16:17] This game has been terribly low quality early. Stops and starts, no flow at all. It looks like the Sabres vs .... the duplicate Sabres.
  • [15:51] On cue, Matthews’ line gets on the ice after an icing and generates a couple shots from the slot.
  • [15:12] Matt Martin somehow gets a breakaway, but Markstrom saves.
  • [13:50] Rielly has looked really nice early. Been active with his feet in creating offense.
  • [13:32] Komarov had Kadri all alone in front, but passes into his feet. If that doesn’t sum up Leo’s year, I don’t know what does.
  • [13:04] Jake Virtanen hits the post, and the Leafs catch a break. Dermott would have caught the minus if that had gone in.
  • [11:19] The Kadri line has gotten some decent zone time tonight, but haven’t often turned it into dangerous shots. Same as it ever was, with them. Also, Dermott had a very pretty zone exit and entry. Decent start for him.
  • [10:03] Andersen takes a tripping penalty, and it was sort of a soft call. The Leafs penalty differential problem continues.
  • [9:03] So far, a good PK for the Leafs. No shots of notable danger from the Canucks.
  • [8:03] Penalty killed.
  • [4:17] Erik Gudbranson does an Erik Gudbranson thing, high-sticking Bozak. Leafs to the power play.
  • [3:14] Ineffective power play for the Kadri unit. We’ll see if Matthews’ does any better.
  • [2:14] Spoiler: no.
  • [1:39] I’m sorry, Freddie Gauthier is just not an NHLer. He’s so, so, bad. He just had the worst shift I’ve ever seen from him. Multiple unforced puckhandling errors, lost battles in his own zone, looking like a deer in the headlights.
  • [0:00] The Leafs probably got the better of that period, but it wasn’t lopsided by any means. We go into the second tied.

Second Period

  • [19:43] Gudbranson goes in hard to the boards chasing an icing.
  • [18:40] A dirty little secret of the Leafs is that since being reunited, the Hyman-Matthews-Nylander line hasn’t been nearly as good in recent games. Their shot numbers are straight up pedestrian right now. They’ve still been scoring, but they’ve been less dominant in terms of carrying play.
  • [17:01] Boeser scores! Brock Boeser knocks down a clearing attempt from Carrick, takes a drop pass from Vanek, then unleashes a wicked shot by Andersen. 1-0 Canucks.
  • [16:45] Boeser has 22 goals already. What a beast. He’s gonna be incredible at his peak.
  • [16:30] Andersen keeps the Leafs within one, as the Canucks have a strong post-goal shift.
  • [15:53] Some awesome puck movement from the Canucks sees Nikolay Goldobin alone with an empty net to fire at. He mercifully misses, and the Leafs are looking shambolic.
  • [14:36] The first was even, and the second has been all Canucks. The Leafs are deservedly losing to a bottom 5 team in the league. This is horrible.
  • [12:11] The Leafs finally get some shots on net. Unfortunately, they’re both weak wristers from a bad angle.
  • [11:34] Wow, Rielly scores a ridiculously ugly goal. He fires a puck that appears to flutter in harmlessly on Markstrom, who fumbles it into his own net. 1-1 tie. The puck came out of the zone before the goal, but it appeared that Boeser brought it into his own zone to negate the icing.
  • [11:34] Looking at it again, Boeser touched it, but it ended up being brought in off a deflection on Rielly’s skate. This is coming back.
  • [11:34] Yep, no goal. Back to 1-0 Canucks.
  • [10:58] Dermott absolutely drops Granlund with a hit.
  • [10:46] Matthews’ line is getting a lot of offensive zone usage, and frankly, is doing absolutely nothing with it. I’ve liked Dermott’s game so far. So far, he leads Leafs defensemen in Corsi %.
  • [8:31] Marner draws a penalty on a 1-on-2 rush. Great play by him, and maybe the Leafs can generate something here.
  • [6:31] Well, nothing happened there. The Kadri unit generated a couple chances, but didn’t take them.
  • [6:09] After the power play, the Leafs are buzzing, but still can’t solve Markstrom.
  • [4:33] By the way, making this horrific game worse? The Canucks lost their best defenseman early in the first.
  • [4:00] Nylander feeds Rielly on a rush, but his shot gets blocked, much to his dismay.
  • [3:22] The Canucks have fully turtled, and are no longer generating offense, which bodes well for the Leafs. But this should have come way earlier, and the Leafs need a goal.
  • [3:22] After a scrum, Henrik Sedin takes a penalty. It’d be great if the Leafs actually scored on one of these. Side note: that was a bad call for the penalty.
  • [2:03] A weak Rielly shot nearly goes in, but no Leaf can poke it home as it lies on the goal line. I have no idea how that didn’t go in.
  • [1:16] The Matthews power play unit looks tepid and ineffective.
  • [0:00] The less said about this period, the better. Let’s hope they can bring it back in the third.

Third Period

  • [20:00] The Leafs need to turn up and actually get one by Markstrom this period. Let’s see if they can do it.
  • [16:53] Dermott with a nifty play to elude the forecheck and clear the zone. Didn’t retain control, but it was a nice bit of skating.
  • [16:13] Hyman nearly finds Nylander all alone, but the Swede can’t get a strong stick on the puck.
  • [15:12] Martin takes an entirely unnecessary interference penalty on Alex Edler (who went down easy, it must be said)
  • [14:29] Roman Polak decides that things weren’t bad enough, so he takes a penalty of his own. Leafs facing a 5 on 3 for almost 90 seconds now. IMO, another pretty weak call.
  • [13:26] And the Leafs pay the price. Sam Gagner wires a loose pick past Andersen, and it’s 2-0 Vancouver. That happened during the 5 on 3, so the Canucks still have a power play.
  • [12:22] Toronto is able to kill that off at least.
  • [12:05] And now Granlund gets a breakaway, which Andersen thankfully saves.
  • [11:37] There we go. Matthews gets one back! Nylander chips to Matthews in the neutral zone, gives it to Hyman, who returns it to him on a 2 on 1 for a tap-in. 2-1 Canucks.
  • [9:25] Babcock really leaning on the Matthews line now, and we’re not seeing much of the fourth line anymore.
  • [7:28] Dermott playing with Rielly a little now, as he earns some trust.
  • [7:23] And it works! The Leafs’ stretch pass tactic finally works and sends Bozak in alone. His first shot is stopped, but he gets his own rebound and fires it home. 2-2 game. By the way, Dermott gets the secondary assist on that, for his first NHL point. Great moment for him, in a great game. And that was a phenomenal pass by Rielly, and an equally adept finish by Bozak.
  • [7:04] Now, can the Leafs actually carry play when score effects aren’t taking hold?
  • [4:35] Dermott makes a great play to break up a centring pass from behind the net, and it leads to some zone time for the Bozak line. Can’t say enough about Dermott’s game today. Granted, it’s against the Canucks, but for most of the game, the Leafs have been getting outplayed by them. Dermott hasn’t.
  • [3:13] Connor Carrick misplays a bouncing puck, nearly handing a golden scoring chance to Granlund.
  • [1:59] Kadri’s line is doing a lot right, but somehow, Leo is the one shooting this game. Given his linemates, that is obviously not ideal.
  • [1:18] Also, the Leafs are doing a LOT of tip-ins and dump-and-chase things.
  • [0:00] Oh my god, the last 30 seconds or so were just the Leafs scrambling around in their zone aimlessly. They survive, and get a point at least.

Overtime

  • [5:00] Rielly makes a power move and nearly gets in alone. Markstrom saves, and the rebound shot from Marleau too.
  • [4:15] Boeser takes a shot off a bad change that is ruled a goal, but clearly didn’t go in. We will play on.
  • [3:33] Boeser takes a slashing penalty on Gardiner. Leafs with a chance to win it on the PP
  • [2:02] A lot of standing and waiting on this power play. Not a lot of chances.
  • [0:45] The Canucks kill it off, and we have a minute left in 3 on 3.
  • [0:00] On to the shootout, for the second straight game.

Shootout

  • Matthews goal - five hole shot
  • Gagner goal - fake forehand, backhand roof
  • Marner miss - tries the deke, but Markstrom covers the goal line
  • Boeser miss - tries five hole
  • Bozak goal - underneath the glove
  • Vanek miss - tries to go high glove

Leafs win 3-2 in a shootout. Let’s make no bones about it, this was a bad game for Toronto. We lost the shot attempt battle to a bottom 5 team without their best defenseman. We looked hapless in our own zone. We were rescued by two incredible, hail Mary plays by our offensive stars. But it’s two points. Despite that, it’s hard to feel great about this game.

Thoughts

  • Dermott was excellent. Very good debut.
  • Rielly is a 1D. There, I said it.
  • Matthews did little this game except for his goal.... but he did get the goal, and that’s what makes him special.
  • Kadri’s unit played pretty well, but someone generated no dangerous shots from non-Komarov players.
  • Like Matthews, Bozak’s line did nothing except for the goal.
  • Carrick had a brutal game, as did Gardiner.
  • Polak was mostly fine, except his customary penalty.