Tonight marked the return of James van Riemsdyk to Toronto after returning to the Philadelphia Flyers over the summer and Calvin Pickard’s after winning the Calder Cup with the Toronto Marlies.
Neither players performance was any help for the Flyers tonight as the Maple Leafs did stuff.
I know I promised you a recap but first I’m going to delay it for 15 minutes for no real good reason at all, just so I can run an ad by you then sing you a couple songs.
Okay. Now we can hockey.
We start with Patrick Marleau trying to get fancy against the ex-Marlies goalie with a between the legs move, save that for when you have a couple goal lead old man.
The first few minutes of the game contain a few nice chances for the Maple Leafs, especially for the third line of Johnsson-Lindholm-Brown. They get the crowd “oohhh”ing with a puck just across the goalies crease but can’t get it in.
The Flyers get the puck out as Radko Gudas takes out Johnsson in the corner, and there’s some bad play in the neutral zone that gives the Flyers a bit of time in the Leafs zone.
When the 3rd line gets back out Andreas Johnsson comes down the left hand side of the ice, fakes a shot to get Pickard out of position, and then puts one through the five hole, just off the post and in to make the game 1-0 Leafs:
After that both Kasperi Kapanen and Nikita Zaitsev create some chances that gets the crowd behind the Flyers net on their feet, but they weren’t on the mark to go in.
Our first break comes with Garret Sparks making a save on Sean Couturier.
After a face off in the Leafs zone, the Flyers win the face off but Johnsson blocks a shot from #26, and chases down the loose puck into the Flyers end, grabs it and scores against Pickard once again to make it 2-0:
The Flyers respond to this by playing the perimeter of the Leafs zone taking weak shots. After this, Jake Gaqrdiner gets a loose puck on the blue line, skates it down to the dots and shoots across Pickard, but it’s caught by Travis Konecny, who tries to clear but it’s caught by Patrick Marleau who shoots into the far side of the net, and makes it 3-0 Leafs after eight minutes.
The Flyers will, once again, respond by being absolutely no threat to the Maple Leafs for two or three minutes until we take another break.
The Flyers continue their lack of offense shenanigans, which gives the Leafs plenty of turnovers to take advantage of. especially Andreas Johnsson, who gets the puck again and once again slips it through Pickards five-hole to complete the hat trick:
Andreas Johnsson scores his first NHL hat trick, in the first 13 minutes of the first period. I guess Johnsson watched Pickard a lot in practice down at the Coliseum.
Last HOME hat trick by a Swedish Leaf? Mats Sundin on Oct. 14, 2006 vs. Calgary. Nylander and Steen did it on the road.— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) November 25, 2018
Anthony Stolarz replaced Pickard in net after this goal.
John Tavares and Mitchell Marner have a very slow exchange in front of the Flyers net to warm up Stolarz, as a lazy puck is tossed at him. Get ready Tony, it’s only going to get worse from here.
JVR helps to clear the puck from the Flyers zone, but he loses it at the Leafs blue line, and Kasperi Kapanen takes it to the Flyers zone, passes to Marleau and he shoots at Stolarz, but hits his shoulder rather than going above it. The puck goes up and out and we’re at a commercial break.
Stolarz makes a save and gets a Bronx cheer, which doesn’t apply since he’s not the one who let in four goals. Nice try though.
Things get rougher in the Leafs end, as Wayne Simmonds flies into Travis Dermott and gets him into the boards, after that the Flyers use that physicality boost by putting the puck out of play.
The Flyers are trying to use a lot of physicality and the boards in this game, but the Leafs are all shrugging it off as it happens and continuing on with their play.
As the period winds down, Patrick Marleau goes for goal number two but Stolarz gets the save, and the Flyers hold the puck to run out the clock on period one.
And now, intermission.
It’s pretty clear what the Flyers problem is. Hopefully no one tells them whats going on...
The Flyers come and get a shot off in the first 30 seconds of the period, but it’s nothing to worry about yet again.
Morgan Rielly gets a opportunity to skate deep into the offensive zone, and takes a shot, which rebounds to Zach Hyman, who dings it off the post.
Nikita Zaitsev gets a shot a few minutes later, which almost gets Frederik Gauthier his first goal of the season, but the deflection goes into Stolarz’s mask.
The Flyers experiment with getting close to the Leafs net, but go back to playing from the perimeter, as Rob Hagg shoots from the blue-line, but is easily saved by Sparks. Hagg, shocked that the plan of “shoot from as far away as possible” is not working, snaps his stick on his leg in a show of strength that he probably should have saved for taking a shot.
We’re spending a lot of this period in the Leafs end of the rink this period, and the Flyers are holding that puck a lot more. There’s a good scramble in front of Sparks, but the Leafs third line helps keep it out. The Flyers retreat to the boards once again after that. Sparks makes a save we take a break.
After a 3 on 2 into the Leafs zone, the Leafs stick to the Flyers like glue as blue sticks get in the way of most shot attempts, passes, and general puck carrying.
The second period is rather formulaic. Leafs try to get it into the Flyers end, the Flyers get the puck and spread out around the ice. They hang out around the boards, lazily attempt a shot, the Leafs get the puck, get it into the Flyers end, and so on.
Josh Leivo takes the puck into the Flyers zone, he passes it to Marner who sends it right back to Leivo after Stolarz is out of position, and Leivo puts it into the open net. 5-0 Toronto.
That goal was so good we need to go to commercial and cool off.
Some back and forth when we come back, the Kadri gets the puck to Kapanen who spins around and just shoot wide of an open net.
The Maple Leafs have tired of playing down to the Flyers level this period, start taking the puck back more and spending more time in the Flyers end. before break #2 of period #2.
The Maple Leafs are now playing it easy, not taking many risks, and dumping the puck into the Flyers zone more.
Ron Hainsey, dumps the puck in. Mitch Marner, dumps the puck in. Philadelphia Flyers, dump the- no wait that was icing.
Sorry, but how else can I explain goal number six?
Morgan Rielly knocks the puck out of the Leafs end, John Tavares passes to Marner, Marner shoots, gets rebound, shoots, passes to Tavares, rolls over Radko Gudas’ butt as Tavares scores.
The Leafs force Stolarz to make several more saves, Wayne Simmonds tries to chop down some trees with his stick (seriously refs, it was right in front of you), and the period ends with the Leafs up by a six-pack. We go to the intermission show, Sports Shouting.
The third period begins, and I wonder if Mike Babcock looked at the score and told the team to just work on their fundamentals, rather than embarrass the Flyers further. Let’s pass. Let’s skate. Let’s practice our defending. Just don’t hurt the Flers feelings any more.
The Flyers in response: are bad at hockey.
Nothing happens. I’m sorry, I know it’s my job to tell you what happens, but nothing happens for almost ten minutes and then we go to commercial.
When we return, the Flyers decide that, hey, maybe we should score a goal. They circle the Leafs zone like sharks taking shots and trying to push they way towards the goal. Sparks keeps the puck out and the Leafs keep them to the edges of the ice again.
Looking to end the game with a bit more bang the Leafs pick things up and take a couple of chances on Stolarz before heading back to their end to toy with Philly for a bit.
The Flyers try to grind down the Maple Leafs to keep them from scoring; a strategy that would have been good about 40 minutes ago. It also isn’t scoring the Flyers any goals.
At the one minute mark of the third period, a Flyers fan gives up, tosses his jersey onto the ice and leaves. Poor Flyers fan. Been there buddy.
As the clock counts down the Maple Leafs fans rise to their feet to cheer on the Leafs 6-0 victory, Andreas Johnsson’s first NHL hat trick, and Garret Sparks 35 save shutout.
What a great game tonight. Thank you all for joining me, and we’ll see you on Monday night as the Maple Leafs host the injury riddled Boston Bruins.