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Where were you when the lights went out? : Leafs 2 - Capitals 5

A poor performance gets what it deserves

NHL: Stadium Series-Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

[20:00 - 15:00]

  • Dermott takes a penalty early on, and the Capitals get to flex their muscles on the power play. We know what’s coming... lets see if the Leafs can stop it.
  • No, they cannot. Nicklas Backstrom fires a shot on Frederik Andersen from the dot, and Evgeny Kuznetsov has inside position on Roman Polak for the rebound. He gets an easy goal, and the Capitals lead 1-0.
  • But the Leafs answer back in a hurry. The Leafs lose an offensive zone draw, but Polak stops the puck at the point when Washington tries to clear. He fires it to the net, and it glances of Zach Hyman and in. 1-1 tie.

[15:00 - 10:00]

  • Oh my god, are you kidding me? The Capitals answer the Leafs answer. The Capitals first line hems in Kadri’s unit for the Leafs. Tom Wilson makes a nice play from behind the net to find Alex Ovechkin in the slot. He does what he does, and makes it 2-1 Capitals.
  • That’s Ovi’s 40th of the season, by the way. He’s still got it.
  • The Leafs get their first sustained offensive shift of the evening as Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly combine to get the latter a shot from the slot. He misses the net.

[10:00 - 5:00]

  • Kapanen flashes his trademark speed to gain the zone and get a shot away. It’s blocked by Christian Djoos, however.
  • The game has been incredibly disjointed thus far.
  • John Carlson clears the puck over the glass in his own zone, and the Leafs have an opportunity to tie it up from the man advantage.
  • Jim Hughson describes the Leafs second power play unit as ‘featuring Leo Komarov’ which tells you a lot about their offensive potency. They do nothing of note.
  • The Leafs first power play unit comes on and immediately has more control. They are unable to score, however. The closest the Leafs come is a puck that is sitting free behind Holtby for a few seconds, but no one is able to poke it home.

[5:00 - 0:00]

  • And now Dominic Moore returns the favour, and takes the same penalty Carlson did. Leafs head to the penalty kill.
  • You can’t give Washington chances like these, and this time, Backstrom makes the Leafs pay. After Kuznetsov drives the net and centres, Backstrom is able to whack it home. 3-1 Capitals.
  • Kadri makes a nice defensive play to body Tom Wilson off the puck, after the Washington first line turned a defensive zone draw into a rush opportunity.
  • The Capitals get a few decent chances at the end of the period as the Leafs seemingly stop playing. Period ends with the same score. The Leafs have generated nothing dangerous, really. The Capitals have been better, especially on special teams. The Leafs fourth line has been much higher event than normal, which isn’t typically a good thing.

Second Period

[20:00 - 15:00]

  • The second period is much more open and flowing than the first, but there’s still a real dearth of quality scoring chances on either side. A lot of one-and-done offensive possessions, which culminate in nothing more than an easy shot in one direction, and then the other team counteracting to do the same.
  • As if to prove my point, the Plekanec line gets two relatively straightforward shots, and the Backstrom line comes up the ice and does the exact same thing.

[15:00 - 10:00]

  • Well, nothing shots turn into goals sometimes, and that benefits the Leafs. Kadri spins around from the right point and fires it weakly to the net, but there’s traffic and it fools Holtby, and the Leafs are within 1! 3-2 Capitals, and this has been a high-scoring game without any really big even strength chances for either team.
  • The euphoria for this goal doesn’t last long, as on the very next shift, the Capitals annihilate the Plekanec line with Rielly and Hainsey on D. Hainsey makes a horrific pass exiting his zone, after skating himself into pressure. The Leafs forwards are then caught out, having assumed that Hainsey wouldn’t barf up the puck like that, and it leads to a 3-on-2. Carlson fires a shot, but the rebound goes to Chandler Stephenson. His pass finds Carlson again, who pots it home. 4-2 Capitals.
  • The Leafs challenge for goalie interference, but it is very obviously a clean goal. Just 43 seconds separate the two goals.

[10:00 - 5:00]

  • The Capitals are generating more and more as this period goes on. The Plekanec line, in particular have done nothing offensively apart from their goal in the first period, which was not exactly the result of offensive brilliance.
  • Ron Hainsey and Morgan Rielly have played a lot with that group as well, mostly poorly.
  • It goes from bad to worse. The defense changes but the forwards can’t get it deep, and Jakub Vrana gets sent in alone. He puts it five-hole on Andersen and breaks a 25-game goalless streak. 5-2 Capitals and now its a blowout.
  • Andersen gets pulled. If it was up to me, half the skaters would get pulled instead. This has been a putrid team performance.
  • Kapanen uses his speed and receives a pass to get a 2-on-1 with James van Riemsdyk, but Holtby saves his shot.
  • Nylander and Marner get paired up in order to inject some offense into the Leafs. They get some zone time, but no shots.
  • Kapanen has also moved up to Connor Brown’s regular spot. Let’s see if he impresses.

[5:00 - 0:00]

  • Another Nylander/Marner shift leads to some pressure and shots, but they’re all from the defensemen and all from the point. Still no real dangerous, high probability shots.
  • Dermott gets danced by Ovechkin and the Capitals first line reverses the shot tide.
  • The period ends with the Leafs down 5-2 and the game more or less over. Really awful period from the Leafs, with defensive errors all over the place, and no offense to speak of at all. They won’t win this game, but any sort of progress in the third would be welcome.

Third Period

[20:00 - 15:00]

  • The Leafs are just floating by in this game.... a lot of back and forth in the neutral zone and no sustained zone time for the Leafs. They’ve been completely inept offensively, to a man.

[15:00 - 10:00]

  • Bit of a lack of updates now, because nothing of note is happening. The Leafs look terrible. The Caps look content to bleed the clock. Makes for frustrating viewing.
  • This game is a clinic in how to stop the Leafs. Washington has kept them to the outside brilliantly. It helps that the Leafs are lacking their best player, of course, but that doesn’t fully take away from how impressive Washington has been.
  • Jay Beagle almost scores a highlight reel goal to add insult to ... well, insult I guess. Thankfully, Curtis McElhinney saves it.

[10:00 - 5:00]

  • Uhh, the lights go out. Just call the game. I want to go to sleep. Or better yet, just play in the dark. The Leafs couldn’t find the slot when it was light anyways, so in theory, this would help them more than the Caps.
  • Play resumes.
  • Both teams understandably in ‘lets not get hurt’ mode.

[5:00 - 0:00]

  • The Leafs are pretty much firing perimeter shots at Holtby while the Caps occasionally get a rush chance on McElhinney.
  • Game over. Deserved loss for the Leafs. The Capitals stopped playing once the game was over, but that doesn’t change how abject the Leafs were before that.

Thoughts

A picture is worth a thousand words.