It’s Tuesday night and the Leafs are on TSN. After that smackdown by the Bruins they really need a win tonight, especially as they have three games on a road trip ahead after tonight, including a date with the Lightning.
Here’s my real-time recap of the game.
Rod Brind’Amour shows some love for the Leafs.
Toronto is probably—of all the teams we’ve played—I’d say the most skilled up front. That’s not a stretch. We don’t want to give away time and space. You hear that all the time, but against a good team, especially with the high end talent they have, we definitely need to do that tonight.
Meanwhile on TSN, Ray Ferraro wants you to know he hates stretch passes, and he’s going to remind you how he hates them every time one happens.
WHAT’S BUGGING RAY? @rayferrarotsn on...— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) December 12, 2018
Why the stretch pass is passé
Why there’s even a Rookie of the Year debate #Pettersson
Why Bellemare didn’t get a suspension
More: https://t.co/sBnujJWJvv #TSNHockey pic.twitter.com/tukcUcUg4V
TSN treats us to a shirtless Kapanen close-up and we discover he has a lightning bolt tattoo on his back.
7:09 p.m. and the game starts. Not bad, Hurricanes.
18:50 The Leafs spend a fair chunk of the first few minutes fending off the Hurricanes in their own zone but Nylander finally caries the puck down in to the Hurricanes zone and generates a scoring chance for Kadri
17:19 Essentially the same thing happens, but this time it’s Rielly doing the hard work.
15:50 Nylander does this really neat little pass to Marleau to keep the play going and they get off a bonus shot.
Nylander with a no look pass between the defenders legs to Marleau pic.twitter.com/TCOcxAeINr— Flintor (@TheFlintor) December 12, 2018
14:09 Gauthier clears the puck after a long wait and moves it down the ice. This is what Gauthier does best, but he changes off and the Hurricanes get the puck right back in to the Leafs zone. It’s up to Matthews to get it out again and he does after a few aborted attempts. He carries the puck all the way into the zone but then makes an uncharacteristically sloppy play and losses it. Fortunately the Hurricanes ice the puck.
13:10 Rielly passes to Johnsson who looks robbed by Mrazek but on the replay it was a shot right into the center or Mrazek’s body.
11:25 FOURTH LINE GOAL! Ennis finds a messy bouncing puck in the blue paint and puts it away.
10:20 Nylander sets up another good Leafs scoring chance. The Leafs have some nice energy here.
10:05 Kadri hit into the bench by Bishop and Kappy throws him back out.
Bishop with a big hit on Kadri, nearly throwing him into the bench. Kap with the assist to get him back up. pic.twitter.com/gNBwA6hYf3— Flintor (@TheFlintor) December 12, 2018
9:00 The puck is stuck in the neutral zone for sometime until Ennis finally gets it in and he really keeps up some strong pressure. Looking good once again.
6:29 They say de Haan was badly cut. While we can’t see it on the broadcast, I assume it’s correct based on how rapidly he skates off the ice and runs down the tunnel back to the dressing room. Unfortunately, it turns out it was Nylander who was responsible so there’s a four minute penalty kill for the Leafs.
5:54 Andersen perfectly stops the first dangerous scoring chance.
4:14 Marner has a nice try for a short handed goal but it gets turned over.
2:56 Marner tries it again and this time gets off a shot.
1:50 Matthews Nylander and Johnsson have a classic setup for a scoring chance. It brought a tear to my eye how beautiful it was. Too bad it didn’t go in.
0:50 I am worried by Slavin sitting out there at the blue line on a lot of these Hurricanes’ attacks. He looks shifty.
0:15 Matthews gets off the last shot on Mrazek of the period.
The TSN Panel is asked whether Mitch Marner or Brayden Point is better. Dave Poulin says it’s Marner literally because he doesn’t watch Lightning games. This explains quite a bit about his tenure with Leafs management.
18:19 Marleau and Kadri get the first good scoring chance of the period. Arvind was right about that line.
15:50 The Hurricanes finally have a good stretch of sustained pressure. The Matthews line does well closing off the scoring lanes, but the Hurricanes keep it in. Sebastien Aho has a clear shot on the net and Andersen stops it. Eventually the Leafs get lucky when a bad bounce on a pass causes it to cross over the blue line.
11:37 After a big hit on Zaitsev by Martinook the Hurricanes get a loose puck and a dangerous scoring chance. Thankfully, Andersen is really on the mark tonight.
Matthews, Gardiner, Kadri, Tavares, Marner out first.
Nylander, Rielly, Johnsson, Marleau, Hainsey next.
The Canes kill this off and Hainsey takes a penalty just after it ends.
7:16 Justin Williams gets the puck on a pass way ahead of Kapanen, Dermott and Zaitsev and gets one past Andersen.
6:09 The Leafs get one right back off the back of Dougie Hamilton. Rielly gets the credit.
Dougie does play for the Leafs! - Katya
4:00 Travis Dermott gives a warm season’s greeting to Warren Foegle after he gets a good scoring chance on Freddie.
2:55 It is fun watching the Hurricanes players simply bounce off Gauthier.
1:10 The Leafs are hemmed in the zone by the Hurricanes and they get off some real scoring chances. Andersen bails them out. Finally Kapanen bails them out with a bank off the glass.
0:37 Nylander is exhausted and takes a holding penalty.
They finish a part of the penalty kill and it will resume in the third period with 1:23 to go.
18:35 The Leafs successfully kill off the rest of the penalty that carried over from the third period with only one heart attack inducing shot on a swat of the puck by Wallmark which bounces off the side of post
17:00 Kadri is hit for slashing but it’s a delayed penalty and a fair amount of time passes before they finally get control of the puck.
Kapanen, Zaitsev, Hainsey, Marner are the first out.
Brown, Rielly, Dermott, Lindholm are next.
16:33 Faulk gets off two shots right away, one of which Andersen deftly stops. Andersen is really on point tonight.
14:30 Marner finds Kadri coming out of the box and he makes a great effort to get the play.
14:11 Nylander line comes out on the change and they charge and score.
11:51 Zaitsev takes a great shot, then makes some great moves to keep possession with the Leafs. The Hurricanes get it out, but the Leafs immediately start another fresh attack and look like they are hungry to score.
11:31 And there it is! Marner to Tavares. Wow.
6:22 No. I didn’t fall asleep. It’s that the Leafs are so obviously going to win this now, there’s not much more to say. The fourth line is out again and Ennis is once again making the Hurricanes look slow and confused.
4:30 It’s 4-1. Nothing can go wrong now!
4:19 Johnsson is drawing penalties like a boss.
4:02 I am disappointed that tonight isn’t Whalers night for the Hurricanes.
4:00 The Leafs get a power play to help run out the clock.
2:11 The Leafs get another power play to help run out the clock!
Comments from the peanut gallery
That was unexpectedly easy.
If the Canes are making the playoffs, they really need to get on that. - Katya
We liked Jake Gardiner a lot this game.
I noticed that Martinook hit, and he’s a good grinder, but Jake took the puck off him so easy a few shifts earlier. - Katya
We liked the Kadri line a lot.
That Kadri line looks dooope. Turns out Naz and Willie can play if they’re not with Leo. - Arvind
We have some hot teaks too.
Zach Hyman was holding the Leafs back: my column - Katya
This win is exactly what the Leafs needed, right when they needed it. This is a great confidence boost for everyone on the team as they head down to Florida to play the Lightning.
I could legit be persuaded that we’re competitive for second-best team in the NHL at our best, but Tampa is just absurd. - Fulemin
Let’s enjoy the win for now.
Parlez-vous Marleau? La langue d’amour de hockey?