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Baby Leafs beat the baby Habs 4-2 in a chippy, sloppy game

There were a lot of ugly and dirty hits, plus a lot of sloppy play by both sides. But the good guys won!

2018 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After losing their first rookie tournament game yesterday 6-5 in overtime to the baby SNES, the baby Leafs will play again today against the baby Habs. Here’s your lineup, with a bunch of returning players:

It’ll be interesting to see how they fare playing against the Habs rookies who are more rested and probably much higher ceiling. This should help us sort out which baby Leafs TRULY are comparable to Wayne Simmonds.


The Grundstrom-Brooks-Bracco line starts off, and here we go.

Within the first two minutes, SDA’s line creates a turnover and he juuuust misses setting up a goal on an odd-man rush. After icing the puck he then draws a pretty stupid penalty after fighting with another forward to clear the puck in the corner, not bad for the little guy.

On the PP, Bracco once again made some slick passes cross-ice and into the slot, but can’t get anything to go. Now the second unit with SDA and Sandin get a chance, and SDA draws ANOTHER penalty to give the Leafs 50 seconds of a 5 on 3. Leafs going with a 3 forward - 2 defense set up with Sandin, Liljegren, Brooks, Bracco and Grundstrom, and a point shot by Little Green gets put home by Grundstrom, with Brooks and Bracco also whacking at it. Grumbles gets credit, 1-0 Leafs.

The same PP line stays out, and Liljegren tries to do a toe drag move at the blueline that got turned over, but no rush back the other way at least. They stay on and put on an absolute passing clinic. Brooks, down to Marchment and pulls the JVR spin pass to Bracco for the tap into the empty net. 2-0 Leafs.

Leafs outshooting the Habs 7-1 about halfway through the period, the Brooks line has looked absolutely dominant so far at even strength and on the PP. Which is good, because they should be considering their age and experience.

Liljegren gets fired up after a Habs player hacks at him a bit as they fought to chase down a potential icing. Looked like it was the same Habs guy that took the first penalty on SDA, Adams-Moisan.

Sandin takes a pretty lame penalty, so we get to the Leafs on the PK. First group we have Liljegren and Nielsen with Marchment and... I missed it. Second unit has LeBanc and Rubins with Moore and Stotts. Both units don’t give up a lot and kill it off.

Oh jeez we have a Habs player down, looks like Tyszka, and looking hurt in their own end.

Elynuik, the Leafs 4C with a dangerous hit. Elynuik was thrown out and Pucek will be serving the penalty, but Tyszka is still on the ice and they’ve brought out the stretcher. Scary scene. After seeing the replay, he shoved him from behind head first into the boards chasing down a loose puck in the corner. Real dumb, dirty play. After a long delay, Tyszka is being stretchered off the ice... hopefully he’s okay.

So the Leafs head to a 5 minute PK. Brooks is out with I think Bracco, and they actually draw a slashing call to even it up for 2 minutes. The 4 on 4 doesn’t lead to anything for either team, so back to the PK we go. Liljegren, Nielsen and Stotts I caught before they cleared the puck and changed. Now Brooks is out with Bracco, interesting seeing them out ont he PK a couple of times so far.

Leafs kill off the 5 minute PK, minus the 2 minutes at 5 on 5. Habs didn’t really get anything going aside from retaining possession.

The period ends with the Leafs holding a 2-0 lead, and a 7-6 edge in shots during a penalty-filled period.


The second period started off real ugly, real fast. Jeremy Bracco took a couple of hits and it led to a fight where two of the Habs shit disturbers, Adams-Moisin and Pezzetta, stirred up some machismo crap or something. It thankfully led to some ejections.

Zach Bouthillier has had a good game, and so has the Leafs defense so far... except for this 2 on 0 they gave up that Bouthillier had to make a great stop on.

Liljegren has had a pretty quiet game until now, but did pull off this sweet stretch pass.

It’s been a poor period compared to the first for the Leafs, as their previously tight defensive game has faltered. Their offense has suffered too, going for a long stretch without a shot on net. The defense lets another breakaway, which Bouthillier almost stops but leads to the Habs scoring to make it 2-1.

The period ends with the Leafs holding a 2-1 lead, but now being outshot 15-9 (so 8-2 shots in the second period for those counting).


The second intermission featured this fun poll:

Third period starts! And we have plenty of guys throwing the body around again, but at least so far it’s clean.

Liljegren breaks up an attempt at driving the net, and we have a little scrum in the crease as Bouthillier gets pushed into the net. Leafs hemmed in their own end for a while and take a tripping call by Piccinich trying to exit.

Bracco and Brooks are out with Sandin and Liljegren. The action gets frantic at time but no damage done. Liljegren with a nice block and clears the puck right away. Now we have Hollwell, Moore, Marchment and Sandin who play keep away with the puck to kill the rest of the penalty. Great work by that unit.

And a harmless looking rush takes a bad bounce as an attempted backward pass bounces off of Rubin’s skate and past Bouthillier for the tying goal, 2-2.

Leafs looking like they have tired legs, while the Habs are getting their speed going. When the puck’s in the Leafs’ end it’s really sloppy. All the key Leaf players were in yesterday’s game, and now they’re down a forward due to the earlier ejection.

Pezzetta is at it again, throwing a late hit at Marchment. Liljegren jumps to his teammates defense, Marchment joins in, and Nielsen hugs Brook for a while. The end result is offsetting penalties for Liljegren and Pezzetta, so we have some 4 on 4 action.

ANOTHER scrum ensues right after the end of the 4 on 4 thanks to a late hit on SDA, and penalty to the Habs. Guess who? It was Pezzetta again, with a late hit on SDA. Leafs to the PP.

Unfortunately the Leafs’ PP looks as lifeless as the rest of their game. Can’t settle into the zone, gave up a short handed breakaway that Bouthillier stopped. So of course after all that, the Leafs throw on some scrubs with SDA and Estephan gets the goal deflecting the shot by SDA! 3-2 Leafs.

Right after a brilliant little passing sequence leads to Hollowell feeding Pucek for a great chance, but the goalie robs him with a great save.

Also the Leafs are back to the PP again because why not, and SDA just about takes the goalie’s head off with a hell of a wrister.

Not much happens until the final minute, when Grundstrom scores an empty netter to make it 4-2. Leafs win!


It was a chippy, sloppy game though that is perhaps to be expected by a bunch of teenagers playing for the first time without much practice.

Guys I thought were good:

* SDA was the most impressive player consistently for this game to me.

* Brooks and Bracco were also very good as their go to line, playing on the PP and the PK.

* Grundstrom got two goals and was alright doing what he does best, but I’d say was carried by his linemates more.

* Bouthillier had a pretty great game. The two goals he gave up were a bit flukey, but he made some great saves when the Habs took over the second period.

* Liljegren was okay. Just okay.

* Sandin looked quiet but effective, which is exactly what we heard about his game. I tried looking out for his zone exits since that’s what he’s lauded for and I did notice some smart plays to clear the zone.