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Leafs steal two points at home against Vegas

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Andersen saved the game, Tavares won it.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

  • [19:42] Reilly Smith walks in and wires a shot off the bar after a Morgan Rielly turnover. Early warning shot from Vegas.
  • [19:34] On the ensuing shift, Kapanen draws an interference penalty. Nice job of him using his speed there (also a dumb play from Nic Hague)
  • [18:21] Slightly more than halfway into this power play, the Leafs have generated a couple weak wristers from mediocre shot locations off the rush, and nothing else.
  • [17:48] The second unit actually manages to generate some pressure, with Kerfoot and Kapanen taking it in turns to bang shots from in close off of Subban.
  • [16:28] The Leafs somehow manage to have the Frederik Gauthier line against Paul Stastny, Mark Stone, and Max Pacioretty. The latter group gets control and some long-range shots, but nothing worse.
  • [15:15] The Matthews line generates some decent chances, aided by nice neutral zone play by the Travis Dermott - Justin Holl pairing.
  • [13:33] Rielly makes a really nice defensive play, robbing the puck of Smith after he gets past Cody Ceci and was on a 2-on-1.
  • [10:57] The Matthews line and Dermott-Holl pairing have come to play early. Another strong shift from them, this one impressively starting from their own zone against Marchessault-Karlsson-Smith.
  • [10:36] Vegas is getting the better of the territorial battle at 5v5, but the Leafs have defended competently in their own zone and not allowed anything beyond long-range potshots.
  • [9:30] That said, I’m not sure I trust them to do this forever, especially since giving up tons of shot attempts opens them up to rebounds / bounces. They need some lines besides Matthews’ to win their battles.
  • [7:40] Nylander gets cleaned out on two straight defensive zone draws, leading to extended zone time for Vegas. Once again, the Leafs are defending well and limiting the shots / danger in this situation, but it’s far from ideal.
  • [6:12] Marner draws a hooking penalty on Stastny, so the Leafs head back to the power play.
  • [4:12] Good zone time, no dangerous chances for the Leafs on that man advantage.
  • [3:14] Dmytro Timashov high-sticks Nic Hague, and now Vegas gets a turn on the power play.
  • [1:14] Overall, a good kill for the Leafs. Vegas had some moments of looking dangerous, but it wasn’t their best work, and the Leafs, once again, defended competently.
Thoughts

Interesting period from the Leafs. I felt the Matthews line and Dermott-Holl were by far the best performers in that frame, with everyone else lagging behind somewhat. In particular, the Tavares line was non-existent offensively. The rest of the Leafs defense was alright, but they had trouble breaking out of the defensive zone when Vegas was applying pressure. That said, their defending once in the defensive zone was generally strong - the result was a low-event period at 5v5 in terms of dangerous chances, with neither team’s power play being overwhelmingly strong either.

Second Period

  • [17:47] Not a lot happening in the opening couple minutes.
  • [16:51] A lazy holding penalty from Nylander for holding Smith - Vegas to the power play again.
  • [16:33] Pacioretty rings a shot off the post, and Stone somehow misses an empty net on the ricochet.
  • [15:41] Andersen robs Theodore with a great glove save!
  • [13:56] The Leafs have not generated any offense in this period. They’re not helped by the penalty, but this hasn’t been encouraging. Both Muzzin and Tavares are not 100% after a defensive zone shift, which is also far from ideal.
  • [12:31] John Tavares looks like himself for a shift, generating a couple Leafs chances going the other way. Need a lot more of that to tilt this game back into Toronto’s favour.
  • [9:35] William Carrier goes wide on Ceci and gets behind him. Andersen makes another great save to keep the game knotted at zeros.
  • [8:49] Tavares draws a hooking call, and the Leafs will go to the power play yet again.
  • [8:16] The best I can say about this power play so far is that Vegas hasn’t gotten any more shots.
  • [6:48] Well, that was two minutes that certainly occurred.
  • [5:21] The Leafs get a shot! Muzzin takes a point shot that is easily saved, but I’ll take anything right now.
  • [3:48] The Leafs are starting to look better, in that they are now recognisably playing the sport of hockey. Tavares draws another penalty, which is really only good for two minutes of frustration. Sounds like my last date.
  • [1:48] Yep, standard Leafs PP.
  • Still tied at 0s as we head into the third.
Thoughts
  • Not a great period for the Leafs who were really poor in the opening minutes. Credit to Vegas as well, they’re a very good team, and they showed it. We’re definitely a little fortunate to still be tied, though there were some signs of life later in the period. In particular, Tavares and Marner were able to show their skills in the latter stages of the frame. The futility of the Leafs power play is really dismaying, however. Something really needs to change on that front.

Third Period

  • [18:27] Stastny gets another penalty, this time for tripping Jake Muzzin. Earlier in the same play, Muzzin himself got away with a hold on Stastny.
  • [17:35] It’s become trite to complain about the Leafs drop-pass strategy on the power play, but it really seems tremendously unsuccessful.
  • [15:52] Max Pacioretty scores. Vegas leads 1-0. A point shot leads to a scramble in front that Ceci unfortunately plays right into the path of Pacioretty, who fires it into the open net.
  • [15:40] To make matters worse, Holl takes an interference penalty. Golden Knights to the power play.
  • [13:40] Thankfully, the Leafs get through it with the deficit only at one. Have 14 minutes to actually generate some offense.
  • [13:16] Another Leafs power play, as Carrier holds Muzzin.
  • [13:04] Because it’s a Leafs power play, the best chance immediately goes to Vegas. Andersen makes a nice glove save.
  • [11:46] Leafs score! By far their best power play of the evening, and it’s rewarded with a goal. Matthews wires a shot above Subban from the right circle, and it’s a 1-1 game. A Vegas player lost their stick, so this was effectively a 5v3. Nonetheless, we take those whatever way they come.
  • [10:27] Tons of penalties in this game, and this time the Leafs are on the bad end of it. Trevor Moore gets called for slashing, and the Leafs need to kill off a power play to keep this even.
  • [8:23] After the penalty, Moore gets sprung for a breakaway. Subban makes an excellent save to deny him.
  • [5:08] Kerfoot sets Kapanen up beautifully at the side of the net for an opportunity, but the latter doesn’t one-time it and the chance evaporates. He still gets a shot away, but it’s not nearly as dangerous.
  • [3:25] Andersen absolutely robs Cody Glass after Marchessault finds him on a rush.
  • [1:21] Leafs take a too many men penalty. Awful time for a penalty, to say the least.
  • [0:00] We’re going to OT! Andersen made some ridiculous saves to maintain the score, and we bank a point at least.

Overtime

  • [5:00] 39 seconds carry over for the Golden Knights power play.
  • [4:31] Andersen absolutely stones Karlsson, after Vegas has some great puck movement up a man.
  • [4:21] The Leafs kill the penalty. 4-on-4 for now.
  • [4:10] Back to 3-on-3 as Andersen freezes the puck of a Nate Schmidt point shot.
  • [2:28] Leafs score! Marner forces a turnover to create a 2-on-1 and finds Tavares brilliantly, and he puts it home! Leafs get a bit of an underserved win, but that’s 3 in a row, and we take those.