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Maple Leafs fall to Rangers, 4-1

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The second night of a back to back ends in a loss.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

First Period

  • [20:00] We have a battle of the backups tonight, as Garett Sparks minds the Leafs net while Alexandar Georgiev does the same for the Rangers. There could be a lot of goals.
  • [20:00] The Leafs start with the usual Tavares line and Rielly pairing. The Rangers counter with Mats Zucarello, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad, with Brady Skjei and Adam McQuaid.
  • [19:32] Well, that start was not ideal. The Rangers score, and its Mika Zibanejad who does it. Rielly turns the puck over in his own zone, Kreider and passes it from behind the net to Zucarello. His initial attempts are rebuffed, but the puck falls to Zibanejad, and the former Sen wires it home. 1-0 Rangers.
  • [17:34] The next shift is more successful for the Leafs, as the Matthews line gets a shot or two, and the Kadri line keeps the pressure going with some point shots and a drawn penalty. Leafs to the PP.
  • [16:05] The Leafs do everything but score on that power play, which is a welcome change from previous games, where they looked entirely inept. Georgiev stood on his head on that sequence, and it’s still 1-0.
  • [13:55] Tavares passes the puck to Hyman as he enters the zone, who has a step on the Rangers defensemen. Hyman drives the net, but once again, Georgiev makes a nice save.
  • [12:38] Early on, the Rangers have gotten some joy out of that Zibanejad line, who are basically their three best forwards, as far as I can tell. The Rangers depth, as you’d expect, is not strong. In particular, the Kadri and Nylander duo should have a big game.
  • [9:41] Looks like Matthews is going to take the Zibanejad matchup.
  • [9:25] The Rangers defense isn’t good, and they show it. Anthony DeAngelo makes a terrible D-to-D pass in the offensive zone, and Kapanen breaks on it like a safety. He gets a breakaway and goes post-and-in to tie the game. 1-1 game.
  • [8:02] Kreider pushes Muzzin into Sparks, and takes an interference penalty. Leafs back to the power play.
  • [5:58] This power play isn’t as good, and the shift after it expires is worse. Kreider steps out of the box and passes it across the seam to Jimmy Vesey, who roofs it on Sparks. 2-1 Rangers.
  • [4:49] Brown makes a brilliant pass to Nylander who is stopped by Georgiev. As the puck goes the other way, Boo Nieves gets an open net off a rebound from a point shot, and he mercifully misses.
  • [1:51] Gardiner takes a tripping penalty as he impedes Zuccarello.
  • [0:00] The Rangers get a few chances on the power play, but ultimately don’t score on the first period portion of it.
  • [0:00] The Leafs generally dominated this period, though the few chances they gave up were of rather high quality. The Rangers were more opportunistic, and will enter the 2nd with a nine second man advantage and a one goal lead.

Second Period

  • [18:35] Pavel Buchnevich gets the best chance of the 2nd as he wires a shot from the right circle off the blocker of Sparks.
  • [16:28] Marner makes a nice pass to Tavares, who directs it on net, but Georgiev makes a nice save.
  • [14:59] Andreas Johnsson draws a tripping penalty on DeAngelo.
  • [13:37] Pretty good shift for the top group... pretty middling shift for the second unit
  • [12:27] After a TV timeout, Johnsson takes Marleau’s spot on the Matthews line. Matthews also draws another penalty. The Leafs can’t say they’ve gotten a bad whistle tonight.
  • [10:52] Another strong shift from the top unit that goes unrewarded. The rest of the power play is less successful.
  • [6:07] Neal Pionk hits Marner and Hyman sees red, so he instigates a fight. Honestly, the hit from Pionk was totally nondescript.
  • [5:03] The Matthews line has done rather well this period, to my eye, and they generate a few more chances against the Rangers third line.
  • [1:43] Another strong Matthews shift unfortunately goes nowhere.
  • [0:00] End of the period, and the Leafs are still trailing by one.

Third Period

  • [18:17] Once again, Johnsson is with the Kadri-Nylander line, as the Leafs look for offense.
  • [16:46] Lower tempo to start the third period... the Leafs may be a little fatigued, having played last night and also travelling from Montreal to New York.
  • [13:44] The rhythm of the game is now established as the Leafs pushing forward and the Rangers counterattacking. They get a couple good chances by way of Vesey and Brendan Smith, but don’t convert.
  • [10:23] Nylander makes a nice play to pick off a puck at his own blueline, which eventually leads to a screened Dermott point shot.
  • [9:27] A rugged shift from the Tavares line results in a few more Leafs point shots, but no grade-A chances. The Leafs also got away with a penalty as Hyman high-sticked DeAngelo.
  • [8:01] That Rangers top line does it again, as they hem in the Matthews line for an extended period of time. Eventually, an Adam McQuaid floater finds its way beyond Sparks to make it 3-1 Rangers. Muzzin was clearly gassed and made a very lame clearing attempt, while SParks also did not cover himself in glory.
  • [6:29] The Leafs offensive plan at this point is to fire point shots with traffic and hopefully get a tip or rebound. We’ll see if it’s successful.
  • [5:58] Matthews has an excellent backcheck on Zibanejad... hope to see more of that from him.
  • [3:50] Tavares makes a great centering pass to Marleau in front, but Georgiev stones him.
  • [2:42] The Leafs pull the goalie and almost immediately get a phenomenal chance through Tavares. As he has all night, Georgiev shuts it down.
  • [1:49] A Dermott point shot is tipped by a Ranger and goes off the crossbar and out. One of those nights.
  • [0:19] Rangers score on the empty net to make it 4-1.
  • [0:00] The Leafs are unable to muster up a whole lot with the net empty. Credit the Rangers, who have done a valiant job defending and limiting shot quality against. Onwards and upwards.