Hello and welcome to the last Leafs vs Jets* game of the season. I was not thinking when I signed up for this recap, so you’re all going to suffer through another McElhinney game with me. Won’t that be fun?
Since the Leafs clinched earlier this week all remaining games are for pride and personal point totals. (Mike Babcock is Very Disappointed in me for adding that last bit, I’m sure, but I have donations riding on this. C’mon Marner, keep scoring. Also Matthews if you’d like to add in a hat trick no one will mind, honest.)
I haven’t really watched NHL hockey since the last game I recapped so I don’t have a lot of context here. Leo Komarov and Roman Polak draw back in. Boo or cheer according to your wont.
After that... skit that HNIC used to start the night’s coverage I can’t deal with the anthem. mute
Nazem Kadri’s line starts against Mark Scheifele’s line.
Blue and white vs white and blue, this isn’t going to be confusing at all.
Auston Matthews gets a great opportunity on his first shift, set up by William Nylander, but it’s batted away.
We’re not even two minutes in and Curtis McElhinney has wandered behind his net three times. It’s fine. Everything is fine.
Fast and physical to start off. Doesn’t look like a lot of space but the Leafs are finding passing lanes.
Kadri gets a tip off a shot by Kasperi Kapanen, stopped by Connor Hellebuyck.
Scheifele comes in just offside.
Jets have a delayed penalty and they try to set something up with six skaters, but they can’t quite get organized before the whistle goes.
Penalty is to Kasperi Kapanen for a hook as he was trying to prevent a Jacob Trouba zone entry.
Dustin Byfuglien snaps a shot from fairly far out but McElhinney sees it coming.
Wheeler gets a great shot off and McElhinney shows off great glove skills.
Ron Hainsey goes down with his helmet half off and Blake Wheeler goes off for the high stick. About 90 seconds of four-on-four.
Jake Gardiner and Patrick Marleau nearly combine for something immediately into the four-on-four, but it’s turned away. Mitch Marner steals a puck and tries to cause some trouble.
At the other end Mark Scheifele gets a shot on net that McElhinney stops easily.
Tyler Bozak tries one of his shootout moves, coming on as the extra attacker as the Kapanen penalty expires but he hits the post.
Wheeler penalty expires, possession goes back and forth, McElhinney needs to make another stop.
Marleau races and then battles with Tyler Myers, going right around the net. Couple of shots on net, including a post, finished with a Matthews shot gloved by Hellebuyck.
It seems as if more of the play is happening in the Winnipeg zone but it’s Winnipeg that has the edge in shots on goal right now.
McElhinney flops around in that nerve-wracking manner of his, but keeps the puck out.
Jets ice the puck.
A second long pass by the Jets looks like it might be icing but it’s called off quite late and that nearly becomes an issue. Then the Leafs get the puck and it’s Gardiner-Marleau-Kadri right into Hellebuyck‘s glove.
Both teams are turning the puck over a lot. The most recent turnover by the Leafs results in another shot on McElhinney, which he hangs on to.
Patrick Laine takes a shot that McElhinney got a enough off to turn away.
Back and forth through the neutral zone.
Just over five minutes left in the period and I have just yelled at McElhinney for going behind his net with a Jet bearing down on him for the first time this game. I’m not sure whose personal growth that reflects, his or mine.
Trouba shot kicked away. Puck stays in the Leafs zone for a bit before Marner clears it. Winnipeg called offside trying to come back in.
A somewhat uncontrolled breakout by the Jets is thwarted when Ron Hainsey beats them to the puck. Leafs try an attack the other way but Willam Nylander can’t quite handle Matthews’ pass.
Trouba shoots from the blueline. It goes through traffic and is deflected in front but McElhinney has it.
Winnipeg are throwing everything but the kitchen sink at McElhinney — slapshots from a distance, shots from in close, but he’s stopping all of it.
Travis Dermott goes down the tunnel after somewhat inadvertently blocking a shot with his instep.
Roman Polak sends one of his heavy shots with Matthews in front but Hellebuyck doesn’t let out a rebound.
Couple of exciting chances in the Jets crease but the Leafs can’t beat Hellebuyck.
JVR gets a shot but can’t put the rebound away.
Connor, Scheifele and... someone else team up in the dying seconds but they’re not sufficiently aware of the clock to get a proper shot off before the horn sounds.
Shots tied 10 all at the end of the period.
While the bigot is ranting about whatever the bigot is ranting about this weekend, it’s a good time to let you all know that the Caroline Ouellette and Julie Chu love story will be featured on Hometown Hockey tomorrow.
Sneak Peek: On the ice they were rivals, but off the ice, @couellette13 and @juliechu13 make the perfect hockey couple. Learn more about their lives off the ice this Sunday on @Rogers #HometownHockey. 6:30pmET/3:30pmPT on @Sportsnet. pic.twitter.com/gVLQt9xsUx— Hometown Hockey (@hometownhockey_) March 31, 2018
Travis Dermott isn’t on the bench to start the period. Seems he’s out of the game.
Period starts in the Leafs zone but Marleau somehow manages to get into the Jets zone pretty much alone but company is close enough he shoots fast and right at McElhinney.
Nylander takes the puck on a tour and feeds Nikita Zaitsev, stopped by Hellebuyck.
Morgan Rielly gets a shot right off the faceoff but that’s turned away.
Leafs have a delayed penalty but an extra Leafs player jumps on the ice before McElhinney is fully off and play is called before they get a shot off.
Leafs take their time setting up and finding the right lane but it pays off. Patrick Marleau tips in an Auston Matthews pass, 1-0 Leafs less than half a minute into the power play. Jake Gardiner with the secondary assist.
Jets try to get it right back but the Leafs fend them off until McElhinney decides it’s time to smother the puck.
Polak sends a shot high. Gardiner’s shot is tipped wide.
Long Polak pass looks like icing but it’s waved off.
This game just looks like a constant scramble and tempers are flaring now. A stop by McElhinney is followed by a heated discussion between both teams. An Adam Lowry hit on Kapanen at the other end of the ice seems to have been the culprit
Shot by Byfuglien gets deflected and McElhinney has trouble but sends the puck away.
Nylander ends up in the Jets zone surrounded by Winnipeg players. Bozak joins him and they try a give and go that doesn’t quite work.
Laine gets his own rebound and shoots it high. Trouba follows up with a shot from up high.
1-1 Josh Morrisey sends a puck in from a distance. Zaitsev and Stastny are battling in front of McElhinney and he has no idea it’s even coming. Assists to Nikolaj Ehlers and Trouba.
McElhinney makes a save on Wheeler and then Mark Scheifele fails to stop and Curtis is bowled right over by the full 207 pounds of Winnipeg forward. McElhinney takes his time getting up.
Leafs argue for a power play but they don’t get one.
Gardiner gets called for what is not at all a subtle crosscheck on Scheifele so the Leafs are down another defender for two minutes.
Leafs go in shorthanded to kill the first several seconds. Jets come in, pass it around to set up and then Dustin Byufglien goes post-and-in while the focus is on Patrick Laine. 2-1 Blake Wheeler and Paul Stastny get the assists.
The game is starting to slip away from the Leafs a bit, seeing more time in the Leafs zone. Brown eventually gets the puck into the Jets zone but the Leafs need a change and can’t follow up properly.
Icing call on Toronto.
Still more time in the Leafs zone, but there’s a delayed Jets penalty coming up. Mathieu Perrault goes off for a trip on Marner.
Leafs get a couple of shot attempts but there are Jets in the way. First unit comes on and have trouble getting anything on net either.
Zaitsev shoots through traffic with Hyman in front but Hellebuyck has it.
Penalty expires and we’re in the Leafs zone again. I don’t like this period.
Kapanen shot hits Hellebuyck right in the chest.
Back in the Leafs zone until Rielly gets the puck and waits for a change to complete. They’re off and... back in the Leafs zone.
Matthews puts a shot on but nothing doing.
Gardiner gets taken down by Tanev at the Jets blue line but he manages to keep the puck in for the Leafs. It comes back, McElhinney sees action, back to the Jets zone briefly and then it’s 3-1 Winnipeg.
Lowry gets the puck behind the Leafs net, comes around and finds Andrew Copp in front while McElhinney is still trying to figure out what’s going on. Secondary assist to Tanev.
And we’re back in the Leafs zone. This is a recording. Apparently running five defenders for a period and more is detrimental.
Mitch Marner has one of those “I’ll do it myself” moments as he hustles into the Jets zone with just over a minute left, but can’t finish.
Zach Hyman comes in with Nylander but can’t connect.
The horn goes and I assume the Leafs are as relieved as I am that the blasted period is over. Maybe less, I’m not being yelled at by Mike Babcock. Shots were 12-9 in favour of Winnipeg.
Official word that Dermott’s not coming back which is not great in general and specifically for tonight’s game is super unhelpful.
Nazem Kadri and Mitch Marner combine for a chance but can’t finish it off.
Battle in the Leafs zone and then Winnipeg steps out offside.
Tomas Plekanec gets a quick shot off but Hellebuyck deflects.
Ehlers and Laine come in but Laine misses wide.
Jets offside again.
Bozak shot goes wide. He nearly gets the puck back in front of the net but misses.
Marner shoots wide. Game’s starting to slow down but the Leafs are getting a little more offensive zone time so I’m not complaining.
Turnover in the Jets zone and van Riemsdyk gets a couple of chances but loses control of the puck on the second attempt.
Scramble in front of Hellebuyck and the Leafs get a few more chances.
Marleau catches a deflected puck with his visor and wow is it a good thing he wears one.
McElhinney makes another stop and we get a breather.
Leafs pinned in their own zone. I had to check, but the Jets are not on a power play. Toronto ices the puck, which does not help matters.
Faceoff in the Jets zone. Bozak is tossed so Brown takes it.
Leafs keep trying but they are having trouble getting out of the neutral zone.
And a gift from Winnipeg! Too many men, Leafs on the power play.
Komarov shot misses the net. Tanev clears the puck well out and McElhinney sends it back in. Shot by Gardiner.
Couple of attempts by Marner don’t get as far as the net. Kadri gets an opportunity but Hellebuyck smothers it.
Penalty expires, but the Leafs spend a little more time in the offensive zone and Gardiner gets another shot.
Few hits going on that have the crowd calling for blood but it’s been a pretty whistle-free period.
Play is moving up and down the ice without much in the way of shots. Leafs are keeping the puck going in the right direction most of the time, which is an improvement over the second period, but there’s just over five minutes left.
Byfuglien shot goes over the net and into the netting.
McElhinney has to make a couple of good saves one after another. Less than 4:30 left and the Leafs are in the wrong zone again.
Morgan Rielly and James van Riemsdyk combine for an opportunity that becomes a scramble in front of Hellebuyck. The ref loses track of the puck so the Jets get a quick whistle.
Laine gets an opportunity but his stick is checked before he can shoot.
Jets ice the puck. Leafs pull McElhinney. Just under three left.
Bunch of action around Hellebuyck and the crowd is convinced the Leafs scored, but play continues. Morgan Rielly is instrumental in a couple of chances but no dice.
Jets ice the puck again.
Hainsey battles with Wheeler in the Leafs zone and he takes a penalty. Wheeler argues it should be an automatic goal but he didn’t have control of the puck at the time. McElhinney comes back in, 1:07 left.
A Myers shot is tipped by Byfuglien but McElhinney makes a sprawling save.
Kapanen shot but the rebound goes to the Jets.
Horn goes, game over, Leafs lose 3-1. Shots were 10-7 for the Leafs in the period.
Hopefully Dermott will be okay soonest. Next game is Monday, which lately means it’s a game against Buffalo. We’re all looking forward to that I’m sure.