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Maple Leafs invent new ways to self-sabotage, lose 7-3 to the Bruins in Game 2

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There were parts of this game that were not bad, to be honest. Just not very many of them.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Hockey is fun, Leafs. Make this one fun, okay?

First Period

Opening panel is psychoanalyzing people via body language, so that’s good.

Muting the anthems is as necessary as Coach’s Corner.

Bergeron vs Nylander, and we are underway.

First play by Leo Komarov is a hit on Zdeno Chara.

Excellent start with lots of zone time.

Rick Nash gets loose, and gets by Morgan Rielly like he’s not there, but can’t make anything on a rush.

Komarov with a nice shot on net, no one there to get the rebound, though.

Rielly with his second shot that’s tipped.

I recognize this team! This is the Leafs! [Oh, how young and foolish I was then.]

Johnny on the ice! I don’t think I ever quite believed it could happen, and here we are. If you think he hasn’t clawed and scratched for this chance, think again. [Young. Foolish.]

Polak with Hainsey, that’s interesting.

Oh, pushing-and-shoving after a whistle, that’s unexpected. Kapanen and Krug is not who you think of for that deal, though.

Man, the Leafs are flying. And passing decently well. Two things absent from the game that shall not be spoken of.

Van Riemsdyk hit hard, and he has one of those useless chats with the ref that just piss them off.

Now Bozie is hot over the faceoff violation issue.

Bruins pick the puck up in their own zone and move out with speed, Marchand rolling right up the centre of the ice as soon as he sees his team has the puck, the pass comes right to him, unimpeded by Gardiner or Zaitsev who are chasing. (The replay shows the chasing was exacerbated from the bench, as Dermott was coming off for Zaitsev as part of his sheltered usage. This is Dermott’s standard usage. No top-line time.)

Marchand to Bergeron, and Freddie does one of those blasted poke checks again. Gardiner is there, doing well enough, but the puck rolls into the corner, right back in the control of the Bruins. Krug keeps it in at the blue line, and Pastrnak grabs a bouncing puck and just rolls across and scores, while Andersen is, er, I’m not sure to be honest, what he’s doing.

But congrats, Leafs, you got outskated.

1-0 Boston

Oh, goood. As if the goal against on bench machinations was bad enough, the Leafs have too many men on the ice. Good job. Give the PP to Boston as part of your matchup game you’ve executed poorly.

Kappy! My heart. He gets a hell of a shorty rush and it’s a ping loud enough to wake up the Leafs, but no goal.

Jake DeBrusk, who yes, yes, yes, I know, perhaps should have been assessed a minor for not dropping a broken stick fast enough, scores on the PP.

2-0 Boston

Andersen gives the puck away trying to play it, and yeah, remember when he was good at that?

Boston is trying to get Bergeron on the ice against the fourth line, obviously, and they do it while Johnsson is roaring up the ice to dish to Plekanec. The Bruins turn it back, of course, and the fourth line guys are just spinning in circles as Boston moves the puck around.

A shot bounces in right off of Zaitsev and in the net it goes.

3-0 Boston

McElhinney comes in for Andersen. I don’t even care. Why not.

You want to know a thing that’s true? The Leafs aren’t even playing that bad. They’re moving well, passing well, getting shots on net. Here’s another thing that’s true. That cute line of fast wingers that are the fourth line with Plekanec cannot play up against a top line at all. At all. I’m having heretical thoughts on this lineup, and I’ll keep them to myself. I’m not sure I’m in my right mind.

Hainsey tries to agressi-hug a guy, and Boston has another PP.

A thing happens on that PP.

4-0 Boston

The broadcast shows a nice young man in a Matthews jersey getting the hell out of this arena. Take me with you?

Thoughts (the game’s still going on, but damned if you can make me watch it):

I’ll spare you the “these are the times that try men’s souls” speech. It’s true enough, and how you respond to adversity is a meaningful thing, but in the here and now this team is too weak defensively, and I don’t mean the defencemen, but my god, Morgan Rielly has been appalling in this series unless the puck is on his stick, I mean the way they all play when the other team has control.

It’s all of them. It’s not just the fourth line or that defenceman you hate who are spun in circles by a good offensive cycle. They all are. They aren’t the Islanders. But they aren’t good either.

The Leafs out-Corsied the Bruins 17-9, but the high-danger chances were 4-1 for Boston. If you want to blame the goalie, do that. But the team played spectacularly badly as a group in the defensive zone. Scoring changes were more even, but the Leafs were not shooting from where the Leafs can score from.

Connor Brown and the Marleau line were on the ice for all of the high-danger chances against. The only valuable offence is coming from the Matthews line. Roman Polak leads the team in CF% — sheltering works. Right up until it blows up in your face.

The Leafs took two spectacularly stupid penalties, the game was badly managed from the bench, and they deserve the score they have.

Leafs. That was not fun. Losing is okay, losing like you just learned this game last week is not.

Second Period

Sure. Matthews with Kappy and Marleau to start off. Makes sense.

Mitch Marner scores on a line with Nylander at C and Hyman. So mea culpa on this one, Nylander can get it done.

4-1 Boston

You can’t make me believe in you, though! I’m still mad.

Komarov with Plekanec and Johnsson looks not bad, to be honest. Oh, no. Damn. Leo is hurt on a hit by Kevan Miller. He can’t get up without help. He’s on both feet, but it looks like he’s not functioning within normal parameters. Looks like a knee. He’s walking very slowly down the tunnel.

This is ungood. Komarov on the fourth line works well.

Grrrrr. They called him Johanson again.

Told you I didn’t believe.

5-1 Bruins

Big juicy turnover from Hainsey who’d been abandoned on an ice floe. Pastrnak made the goal happen, but I take back my mea culpa, Nylander couldn’t do a thing there against this line.

Serious question. Is Mitch Marner the only person on the Leafs playing at anything like his normal ability level? Is this opposite world to last playoffs?

Oh, hey, Ryan Donato, who is only in the Bruins lineup thanks to Nazem Kadri, is really hot. As expected. He gets some chances.

I like Nylander at C with Marner. I imagine Gabe Landeskog at left wing, and I see something in the ballpark of some of the good top lines on bad teams. So not a Tampa or Boston line, but a Carolina or Florida second line.

Bozie. You know, I like you, and you can score here if you like. Connor Brown works hard here, and this line needs to succeed for the team to succeed. But I still don’t trust the Leafs.

5-2 Boston

FYI, If you’ve stuck with this recap-rant, the game is only half over.

My god, Marchand with a shot that’s saved. Leafs are opening this game up, but I have no hope that will lead to good things.

Bozie with a nice backcheck.

JvR with a penalty.

The ghosts of Leafs past giveth and they taketh away. But a broken stick for Bergeron keeps it from going to badly.

Oh, good a puck over glass penalty. Go Leafs Go, do something dumber. I know you can.

Thoughts: a good period, better than the first in tangible ways, chopped off at the knees by a defensive failure, that is now mercifully over.

Third Period

You can’t make me trust you, Leafs. Do your worst. You know you want to.

Leo Komarov is out, no surprise. The only question is for how long.

The third is going like the second, much better play by the Leafs. Dig a big hole, though, and blah, blah, you know how that goes.

Nylander is leading the team in high-danger chances right now. The top guys are in the game offensively, so there is that. Problem is Nylander and Marner so lead in chances against. Matthews is definitely the best guy on the ice, which he should be.

PP for the Leafs. Make something happen! Not that I’ll trust you, if you do.

The PP looks okay, the post PP pressure is better, but Rask has what he needs to have.

[There was about five minutes where my internet got wonky. Thanks, ice storm, you did me a favour.]

Gardiner to Rielly at centre ice goes horribly wrong, and McE stops Marchand, but he gives in for Pastrnak. Imagine that.

6-2 Boston

JvR on the PP makes it 6-3 with less than five minutes to go.

Guess who scores? 7-3 Boston.

If you want to see those goals, NHL.com is where they’ll be at.

Thoughts: You can win with a one-line team if they’re good enough and hot at the right time. All the rest of the team has to do is be decently competent. Leafs just made it easier than it needed to be with errors all over the lineup and from the bench. I knew they weren’t going to tighten up; I just didn’t think they would get looser.

Over to you, boss.