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Recap: Auston Matthews injured as Maple Leafs power through the Jets in the 3rd

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The chips were down, and the Leafs came up big.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

First Period - Hardev

Right off the top, so happy to see Martina Ortiz-Luis healthy and singing again. It’s not hockey on a Saturday night without her.

Second thing right off the top: John Tavares is a Maple Leaf. Ooh, yes that still feels good to say.

Martin Marincin might be relatively terrible handling the puck in the offensive zone. His failure to keep the puck in at the blueline on his first shift was pretty good indication of that. However, when it comes to that defence thing, he’s not bad. MarMar and Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler were pinned together in a fierce battle behind the Leafs’ net and Marincin was able to deftly hook the puck away from the Jets captain as he tried get around the big man. Good job, MarMar! More of that!

Not sure why Nazem Kadri stepped onto the ice in this game sporting the red mist — perhaps Jazzy preferred sleeping with mom last night — but he was asking for a penalty from the moment the puck dropped. Early in the period, he took a few runs at Jets players that were on the line of being unnecessary, but it was his hit on Jacob Trouba that really caught the attention of the referees.

Like the old days when the NHL had touch-icing (remember that?), players were constantly getting pancaked into the boards and onto the ice. Injuries were rampant. Kadri decided to bring it back to the old school and conduct such a hit on Trouba as the Jets defenceman tried to move a dumped-in puck. Two minutes for boarding, yeah, you deserved that, Naz.

0-1

With Kadri in the box, the Jets overpowered the Leafs’ penalty killers with some really quick puck movement and Kyle Connor scored the opening goal of the game. All three of Igor Ozighanov, Par Lindholm, and Ron Hainsey converged on Mark Scheifele for some reason, leaving Hainsey’s man in Connor wide open at the far post. Kasperi Kapanen tried to get back, but he was too far away.

Auston Matthews and his merry men of Kapanen and Patrick Marleau have had several amazing shifts in the early goings. They hemmed Patrik Laine’s fourth line (yes, you read that right) in their own zone for well over a minute, peppering shots on shots on shots and getting two or three big chances on Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck. Matthews has been all around the net all period searching for pucks and kicking it like a soccer player, trying to pop home a rebound. He even hit the post/side of the net on a mostly event-less power play with Byfuglien in the box earlier in the game.

I had forgotten that the faceoff violation penalty was a rule until Frederik Gauthier committed it at the end of the first period. Goat made the same illegal move with his feet twice, even after being warned by linesman Shandor Alphonso. It had to be called. He was clearly warned, and he clearly made the same move twice. Luckily, the Jets didn’t score on that power play. Lindholm did well to keep an eye on Connor on the backdoor, and disrupt the pass.

After One

The first period went very well for the Leafs from a shot generation standpoint. They’ve been hemming the Jets in their own zone consistently, and it’s really only a matter of time before they put one in and open the floodgates. At even-strength, the Leafs led in shots (9-6), shot-attempts (19-10), and scoring chances (9-3).

And now, Brigstew will take over for the second period. Toodeloo!

Second Period - Brigstew

Brigstew’s a surly drunk tonight. Should make recapping the second period fun. Here’s my head space: pissed at Kadri for being a hot head, then pissed at the Jets for playing like a bunch of dirty little pillocks. All is forgiven Naz. Just dangle Myers or Byfuglien out of their jocks and spread some tiger balm in them when you give them back, and all will be forgiven!

Tavares and Myers open up the period in the penalty box for their extra curriculars at the end of the first period. I don’t really see what Tavares did, all he was trying to do was clean a turd off the ice.

On the 4 on 4 Kadri couldn’t clean up the rebound off a point shot in front, but he did at least have a friendly conversation with Trouba, where he could give advice to him about what it’s like a mopey loser.

OH FUCK! Not long after Trouba threw a hard hit at Matthews and looked like he hurt him, ribs/shoulder maybe? May all of Trouba’s drinks be laced with Carolina Reaper oil.

Not long after that, Marner with a horrible giveaway and Andersen had to make the stop on Ehlers on a breakaway, though really Ehlers is Danish so we all know he lacked Finnish.

Winnipeg’s strategy this period seems to be check everything that moves and hope for the best. Sadly it’s working so far. May their bathrobes be infested with bed bugs.

Laine takes a penalty for interference, so the Leafs’ Matthews-less power play will attempt to tie the game. They can’t, so it’s back to even strength.

Kadri with a bad giveaway inside the offensive blueline, and Scheifele gets away with a 2 on 0. Scheifele keeps it and snipes it to make it 2-0. May his bloodline be forever cursed with early baldness.

The Jets follow up the goal dominating play, while the Leafs seem to be utterly lifeless since the Matthews injury. This is where we would need our other stars to step up and pick up the slack, but no one’s really done it yet. The arena is quiiiiiiieeeeeeeet.

So is the Leafs’ offense. The only offensive zone time I’ve seen was Leivo with Gauthier (uh huh) then Kadri by himself with 3-4 Jets defending (okay), then a 3 on 2 that was broken up pretty easily. A lot of dumping and changing, and lines being stitched together like Frankenstein, hoping that their offense comes to life.

At the end of the period, noted piece of shit Dustin Byfuglien gives Hyman a little cheap shot for good measure. Maybe he saw a picture of Hyman in a track suit and saw red. Who knows! That’s just Byfuglien.

Second Period Thoughts

At even strength the period was actually even in terms of shot attempts and scoring chances, but it didn’t really look like it especially in the second half of the period. Winnipeg seemed to have a lot of the offensive zone time, and it’ll be a tough hill to climb for the Leafs.

And with the second period over, I’ll pass it off to Katya who is probably less surly than I am.

Third Period - Katya

Well, this is going well. The intermission panel was everyone back on the trade Nylander speculation, and I’m like: NOW IS NOT THE TIME, OKAY?

In this period, Nazem Kadri needs to be the man. Not the man who gives the puck away, the man who controls the play. Par Lindholm, you see that open door? You blast through it, buddy. And everything is going to be just fine.

Kadri starts with Marleau and Marner. The old band back together gets good zone time.

Lindholm is with Ennis and Brown, and they’re a little loose to begin giving the Jets the puck.

Tavares is with Hyman and Kapanen. They get a pass that doesn’t connect and not much else.

Ennis is double-shifting on the fourth line.

Now I see a Rielly and Gardiner D pair behind Kadri. Serious shortening of the bench needs to happen now. I don’t need to see that fourth line again.

Perreault just walks by Leivo and strolls out of the defensive zone. Leivo is taking a turn on the Lindholm line, but I haven’t liked him much tonight.

Cripes. There’s a scoring chance and it’s the world’s worst shooter at the net, and Frederik Gauthier can’t tip it in, imagine that. This would be fantastic if the score where 2-0 for the Leafs. As it is, why is he on the ice?

Okay, so I erased the line about how dumb the coaching is in not shortening the bench. Never mind that.

NAAAAAAZ!

Marner gets the puck to Kadri, and in it goes like they’ve done that before.

2-1 Jets

Now! No fourth line, Babs, come on. (I get it, the Jets are big and tough and the fourth line is sort of that. Who cares? Just score some goals.)

Lovely chance from the Lindholm line. Great hard-working shift from a bunch of small guys.

Yes!!!! Some dumb Jets player trips Marner, and to the power play we go. The last time, Tavares subbed for Matthews, with Marleau in for Tavares, I expect that again, and almost none of PP2.

There’s one good tip chance from Kadri, and that’s about it. Marleau on the second unit — Kapanen was on the first — gives the puck away twice and then shoots it straight at Hellebuyck. I’m not thrilled with Marleau tonight either.

Hyman with a bull moose of a shift. If he could score, he’d have done that too.

Marner is working hard in his own way, and they get a shot. There’s 7 minutes. There’s time, to grind out another goal.

The Leafs decide to practice their zone exits by repeatedly giving the puck away in the neutral zone.

Lindholm gets a tip chance, but it’s wide.

Tavares with a chance, and you know, Connor Hellebuyck is a hell of a goalie.

With 4 minutes to go, no one should complain about the effort the Leafs are putting in to try to tie this game.

YEEEEEES MR 500 with the tying goal. You better believe in Jake, baby.

Marner makes the play, and it’s Gardiner down the slot, the Gardiner Expressway if you will, and it is a Tie game.

Go Leafs Go! This building is rocking.

Kapppppppppppppppy. OMG. You guys. This game. This team. That man.

It’s Hyman and Tavares working it behind the net, and Kappy makes no mistake.

3-2 Leafs.

This game. These Leafs. That’s all I can say.

The Jets pull the goalie with under two minutes to go.

Zach. Zachary Hyman. You just missed a wide open empty net, there, my friend.

The faceoff is in the Jets end, so Hellebuyck is back in with one shift’s worth of time.

Dammit. Freddie almost scored an ENG. Not that Freddie, the one with offensive talent. Andersen golfs it way up and deep down the ice, but he shanks it a little.

The clock runs down after that foolishness, and the Leafs win.

We’ll update with the word on Matthews when we have it.