The Toronto Maple Leafs faced the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in their first matchup. The Lightning “struggled” to start the season and came in mad after getting dominated by Carolina, and they also got Brayden Point in the lineup for the first time.
But the real concern for Leafs fans was former prospect Carter Verharrblgarbl and how many goals he would get against the team that drafted and traded him.
Some things I’m watching for:
- How will Sandin follow up his best game in the NHL so far?
- Will Kapanen and the Leafs’ top line get going?
- Between Point and Marner whose contract will be proven as the better one based on individual and team performance this game?
So William Nylander has gone down the tunnel to #Leafs dressing room less than two minutes into the first period— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) October 10, 2019
WHO DID IT I WILL END THEIR EXISTENCE AND THEIR ENTIRE GENETIC LINE. Thankfully he returned after a few minutes, so hoping just an equipment malfunction.
Point Wins the RFA Contract Battle, Lighting Lead 1-0
Of course it was Brayden Point.... Stephen Stamkos with the shot that Andersen couldn’t smother, and Point fought through the defender for the goal. Andersen needs to stop diving out of his crease for pucks, he’s been burned twice already this year.
Leafs PP and Johnsson Ties the Game 1-1
Thankfully the Leafs drew a penalty not long after Point’s goal, and Auston Matthews set up Andreas Johnsson for a clean one-timer in the slot that tied it up. Marner with the secondary assist, so suck on THAT Point!
Some important context about the past two goals...
the Lightning and Leafs have each scored a goal before the Habs are done their opening ceremony— thomas williams (@nosalaryretaind) October 10, 2019
OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN! Tavares Makes it 2-1
A good forechecking shift and the Leafs’ top line gets rewarded. Kapanen and John Tavares dug the puck out from behind the net, Kasperi Kapanen stole it from Victor Hedman and fed it to Holl at the point. One quick shot and one sweeeeeeeeeet tip by Tavares and the Leafs have the lead! Assists to Justin Holl and Kapanen.
Lightning PP Is All Action, Kucherov Ties It 2-2
The Bolts had tons of chances and good shots early in the powerplay. Meanwhile, Ilya Mikheyev started a brilliant rush that was broken up by a blocked Mitch Marner pass back to a wide open Mickey.
Near the end of the PP, Nikita Kucherov blasts the tying goal from the point off the faceoff. For some reason Marner was taking the faceoff... so maybe not surprising he lost it clean. Aside from the 2 on 1 chance, the Leafs PK looked like butt, or the Lightning PP looked great.
Rielly Gets Pyloned by Shattenkirk, 3-2 Lightning
Woof, Rielly... the less said about that the better.
Leafs Get REAL Lucky, Matthews Ties It 3-3
I’m actually mad at the Leafs getting that goal considering how much they fucked up before it and almost gave up a 4-2 goal.
The top line dumped the puck in, and had the lamest dump and chase I’ve ever seen. Every forward coasted into the zone, Marner lamely fought for the puck for about a second and the Lightning came back the other way. I guess all the Leafs forwards changed, and Sergachev rang the puck off the post. The Leafs, now with the Matthews line on, jumped on and Matthews picked up a juicy rebound that Vasilevskiy probably should have had, but Auston tied the game. Muzzin and Nylander with the assists.
STOP TAKING PENALTIES YOU COWARDS! Stamkos Makes It 4-3.
Nic Petan took a holding penalty on Verhwarhlbasdfa with less than 2 minutes in the period. Stamkos scores a vintage goal pretty quickly. Leafs end a wild first period down a goal.
First Period Thoughts
- For a period with 7 goals scored it was some pretty shitty hockey. Sloppy at 5v5, almost 8 minutes in powerplays, neither goalie making great saves. Fun to watch if your team wins.
- Leafs looked good for about 5 minutes following the Lightning’s first goal, then played like butt the rest of the period.
- At 5v5 the shot attempts were equal at 16 each. The scoring chances and shot quality heavily favoured the Lightning though, and they had almost double the expected goals despite the same amount of shot attempts. Remember when the Leafs used to get a lot of shots right in front of the net? Now they’re all in the high slot. Baby what is you doin!
- The Lightning’s powerplay has been lethal, but I think the Leafs’ poor PK did not help. Aside from the one chance they had, Marner hasn’t looked fast or disruptive. They’ve given up a lot of very good scoring chances.
- The Matthews line and the third defensive pair were the best Leafs of the period.
- The fourth line were awful. No shot attempts, took two penalties that led to goals against. #FreeShoreAndTimashov.
- Rielly has looked pretty bad too.
We’re Here for That Hot Bolt-on-Bolt Action
As Don Cherry always says, you gotta keep your Gourde up kids.
Brayden Point + Leafs Fourth Line = 5-3 Tampa
Leafs have actually dominated this period in terms of possession, but the expected goals is pretty much even with Tampa because, again, all their shots and scoring chances are low quality. Lots of point shots into traffic. No odd man rushes. Nothing in front of the net, not even off a rebound. Any chance Tampa has gotten has been dangerous, and they capitalized on one of them with a Point tip in... gonna be one of those games I guess.
Matthews Tries the Tip, Vasilevskiy Stones Him
Palat Creates Turnover, Almost Scores
Second Period Thoughts
- The Lightning played tight defense in their own end, the Leafs did not.
- The Lightning created good quality scoring chances, the Leafs did not... mostly.
- Vasilevskiy started making saves, Andersen didn’t.
- The Matthews line has been by far and away their best in the game. Hemmed in the Lightning almost the entire period, what scoring chances they had seemed to come from them.
- All credit to Justin Holl, he’s looked good this game and especially when in the offensive zone. He can make plays there.
- Leafs finished the period 26-12 in shot attempts, but again the Lightning had a higher expected goals. So despite the big advantage in shot attempts they were extremely ineffective offensively.
Matthews Gets Glorious Chance, Hedman Saves the Day
Matthews picked off an errant clearing attempt and had nothing but daylight in the slot. He got a clean shot off, but Hedman got enough stick on it to deflect it out of play. Which is a shame because right after...
Palat Bounces Puck Off Kapanen, 6-3 Lightning
Pretty awful turnover by Sandin, and.... well, when it rains it pours and Kappy’a drenched by now.
Leafs Finally Get Another PP, Chance to Close the Gap. Make Gap Bigger Instead. 7-3 Lightning.
They do NOT close the gap. They did manage to almost give up a goal and look terrible on the PP, I’m pretty sure Tampa had more shots and scoring chances than the Leafs.
Right after Kucherov comes out of the box he scores and Freddie gets the pull. Neither the Leafs nor Freddie have been good this game.
It’s 8 minutes into the period and the Leafs have an expected goal of zero — yes, that includes the powerplay — just to give you an idea of how things are going.
Third Period/Final Thoughts
- That third period was awful in just about every way. The Leafs stopped getting even shot attempts, they were as sloppy as they were for much of the third period, all the bounces went Tampa’s way, and Freddie’s wandering cost another goal that led to him being yanked.
- Despite the usual chance for score effects, the Leafs were still awful. Tampa kept getting odd man rushes, hemmed the Leafs in their end, and forced Hutchinson to look like the best goalie of the game. Leafs had one shot on net for the period after 15 minutes of play! They finally got their second shot on net with 2 minutes left.
- Matthews line was the only good line through two periods, even they looked bad in the third.
- Sandin and Holl were bright spots in the first two periods as well, but couldn’t do anything when they weren’t in the offensive zone... which was never in the third period. Sandin also had a brutal giveaway that led to a goal against.
What was the worst part about that game?
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