The Islanders are in Toronto to taunt us with their UFA we can’t have. They have other interesting players that teams might want to trade for. They always have someone who plays on Tavares’ wing who looks better than they really are, but they don’t seem to want to trade. They don’t seem to be in the playoffs either, so what kind of team are they?
As for this game, are they a team that can put together a win against the Leafs? We should ask Matt Barzal, as he was the guy bringing all the pain to the Leafs the last time, even if he couldn’t convert it to goals that night.
Gotta love the broadcast that goes live as they’re rolling up the blue carpet after the anthems.
Holy ineptitude, Batman. The Mathews line opens with a routine of attempting to win a board battle against the Islanders depth, and then the top line, and yeah, not the start you want to see. Gardiner and Zaitsev were also in on the bumbling as was the Kadri line.
Patrick Marleau with a weak shot at the net area!
Kasperi Kapanen with a little rush and a shot. That’s two actual offensive types of actions.
Oh, and a real scoring chance challenges Halak, Gardiner gets a good shot off courtesy of the Matthews and Nylander show.
Fire up the Yakety Sax again, though, as Zaitsev and Gardiner completely fail three times to move the puck out. They all look third period of a back-to-back tired out here. The ice looks like trash too.
Brown springs Bozak, who goes in nice and easy through the slot and leaves the puck behind. That has to be the ice.
The same five guys from the very start of the game drift around aimlessly watching the Islanders pass the puck around, and the point man, Pulock, rifles it right to the back of the net. No one looked good there. (The broadcast was doing a cute bit on the jersey bet with Nylander and Komarov, so the viewer didn’t get to see this whole play develop.)
Boychuk tries a point shot rocket on the next chance. Why not? This one stays out.
Leafs have started moving — more than halfway in and down a goal — and they get deep in the offensive zone. But the puck squirts out to the offensive blueline and the Islanders are away. Andersen kicks out a bad rebound, and oh, look, it’s right to Matt Barzal!
Marner, on a rush, drops the puck back and it goes right between Rielly’s feet. I mean. Come on.
Leafs are trying. Man, are they trying. But they aren’t getting much beyond the Islanders’ blueline, and they aren’t keeping the puck long.
Nice move by Sebastian Aho to just cruise the puck in to the Leafs zone deep.
Islanders look bored as the play moves to their own end. They’re doing a lot of standing up straight, not moving quickly. The Leafs are getting some wins on the proverbial 50-50 puck battles.
Marleau gets the puck up to Kadri who snakes it over the Marner who is in the exact right place as always. Marner does his wait for the right moment move, and boom, in the net.
The Isles really like their high-scoring games.
Pulock with another point shot, and Andersen sees this one. Brock Nelson follows up with a post, and this team can score, the Leafs are playing with fire. But the period is done on this mess, and there’s nowhere to go but up.
The good and the bad
I’m not putting in the heatmap, it’s too bad to be shown to impressionable minds.
We’ve swapped ends, and swapped personalities for a bit. The Islanders can’t get deep into the zone, and the Leafs are handling the puck like they’ve done this before.
Matthews flicks the puck right off of Barzal’s stick and right to another Islander. Andersen with the save.
John Tavares can just do whatever he likes in the Leafs zone. No one will try to stop him.
The D pairs have been scrambled. Right now it’s Zaitsev and Hainsey.
Barzal makes a rookie mistake and keeps his broken stick in his hand for too long, and he’s holding it while he kicks the puck. Leafs to the power play.
Another drop pass that just sort of died and Rielly had to go find it. Looked just like a curling stone that picks.
Nice shot on goal, too bad it’s the Islanders on Andersen.
Gardiner can’t keep the puck in at the blueline, and then once reset, a pass goes astray.
That power play was trashier than the ice quality.
Good fourth line shift with some Kappy time makes this game somewhat watchable.
Dermott is playing with Rielly, and okay. “We have a goalie” is obviously the defensive strategy there. The Islanders get some zone time against this pair and the Bozak line, and that is indeed the defensive strategy.
Q and A from that sit down. "We had a goalie" is my all time favorite strategy for defensive responsibility within a d-pairing. pic.twitter.com/KFEy9vGMjA— Jonatan Lindquist (@Lindquistik) February 22, 2018
Some more Islanders zone time, and it hits a post, lucky for Toronto.
The Matthews Line tips the ice a little, and they get a good chance. Carrick is with Gardiner now. Some perusal of the shift chart shows this switch happened after the second Islanders goal.
Aho takes a penalty, and the Leafs power play is better than the first on. Kadri gets a decent chance.
Carrick is getting off a lot of point shots. He usually does, but as usual, they aren’t really benefiting the team much, but the Matthews line is looking effective with Gardiner and Carrick, so it’s hard to complain.
The Islanders take yet another penalty as the Islanders are chasing the play just a bit.
The Matthews PP group starts out, and they hold the zone, pass the puck, and get some shots off.
The second unit is not quite as successful, but this is way better than the first two power plays.
The Leafs are taking it to the Islanders and Matthews just leaves a puck behind as he moves in to shoot. Nelson has it and is away and Matthews just flips Nelson’s stick away to prevent the breakaway. That really looked like the same thing that happened to Bozak.
Islanders have just a minute of power play before the period ends, and end it does, with the score still at 2-1 Islanders.
The defence pairs and the shots
Ron Hainsey ice time dried up in the second period a lot, and Gardiner started showing up with Zaitsev and Carrick. Not sure what’s up there beyond wanting to score.
The Leafs owned the Corsi share in that period, and are at 27 - 33 on the game as a whole, although score adjusting makes that a little worse.
The second half of the Islanders power play starts the period, and it’s hard to make anything out of one of those, but Andersen goes sprawling and he gets away with one.
Matthews gets a bit of a rush out of the penalty box.
Nelson sends the puck through the front of the crease, and that’s puck number two that nearly went in.
But the Isles are who they are, and after good defensive plays by van Riemsdyk and Bozak, Connor Brown gets the puck over to Rielly, and in it goes.
2-2 on the scoreboard.
Leafs have no right to this tie game. But you don’t always get what you deserve.
Like I said, no right to it. The Islanders come in on Zaitsev, and they get it by him, the puck bounces around, and eventually on a shot towards the net from Eberle bounces in off of Zaitsev’s skate.
Barzal has been in on every goal for the Islanders. Unfortunately, so has the Matthews line.
Dermott is leading the Leafs D in ice time at five-on-five, and he’s doing well, barring a few heavy shifts in the defensive zone.
Nice stretch of zone time by the Bozak line. I’ve liked them a lot tonight, barring a few heavy shifts in the defensive zone.
Brown takes a penalty for interference, and any chance of righting the ship seems to be slipping away.
Leafs with a very good penalty kill from all sorts of players, and the power play ends with a Dermott mini-rush down the ice.
Andersen with a save off of Barzal, the man with the puck non-stop right now.
The Leafs are under siege as Carrick has no stick.
The Leafs try the heavy pressure trick, but Halak has the saves when he needs them.
The Leafs lose an offensive zone faceoff and then have to go get the puck and come back. Matthews leaves the puck for Gardiner, who shoots it and Matthews tips it in.
Tie game at 3 all.
The Leafs keep up the pressure, but the clock is ticking down, and Matthews is going down the tunnel after getting sandwiched by two Islanders.
Regulation time expires as the Islanders hold the offensive pressure against the Leafs.
Will Matthews be out for OT? We’ll see.
Remember when it was an outrage that Komarov played in OT? Why is Brown out here with Kadri and Rielly? Well, it works for one good chance.
Andersen makes a save and can’t keep the puck in play.
Barzal with a great play to get around Marner, but Andersen stops the shot.
Nylander and Rielly with a chance, and Halak has it. Nylander gets dumped in the corner, and the crowd doesn’t like it.
Kapanen outskates his own feet on a rush, and the Islanders come back the other way and knock the net off.
Great two-on-one with Zaitsev and Brown, and Brown can’t get the shot off after a pass across that’s nearly perfect. Zaitsev hasn’t had a great night, he could have used that.
Marleau and Marner team up, but Halak has it.
There’s about six more chances somehow, but time expires, and Leafs, guys, another shootout is not what I wanted. Win this one, okay?
- Bozak: Scores
- Eberle: Nope
- Nylander: Nope
- Barzal: Nope
- Marner: Nope
- Tavares: Nope