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Recap: Leafs lose 3-2 in a game I couldn’t possibly hate more

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Between the refs, Tom Wilson, and a dominant stretch leading to a sloppy end, this game sucked.

Washington Capitals v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The Leafs are 2-0 against the Capitals this year but will be without Nazem Kadri because of the concussion he suffered against the Blues (more like BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS!). Will they miss him this game? Tune in to find out.......... now!

FIRST PERIOD

The top two lines each get a flurry of chances to start, with Hyman having a narrow miss and Kapanen creating some clean shots from the point. Early on and Ray Ferraro keeps pointing out the big juicy rebounds Holtby is giving up, something to watch for? [Ominous organ music].

Holy shit! At about the 13 minute mark we just saw the craziest sequence of plays end to end I can remember seeing. The Caps had a 3 on 2 that Andersen had to make two great saves on. The Leafs got it right back on a 2 on 1 with Kappy and Marleau, and Holtby had to make two fantastic saves of his own. All within, what, 10 seconds of each other?

Not long after, Nylander with some brilliant puck handling in the offensive zone led to a chance off a backhand, and then a chance for Brown on the rebound. After the game started pretty uneventful, the action has started to pick up at both ends.

First Period Thoughts

  • The period ends scoreless but with the Leafs slowly starting to take over the game. It’ll be interesting to see if they can turn that into some goals in the second period.
  • Nylander was a god damned beast that period. 14 CF, 2 CA. 7 scoring chances for, 2 against. 3 high danger chances for, 1 against.
  • The only line below 50% in possession was the Matthews line, and it was only just. Their scoring chances was... worse.

SECOND PERIOD

The period opens with a great chance created by Johnsson, but Matthews can’t capitalize. Looks like Lil’ John got moved up to the Matthews line, Marleau presumably dropped to the Nylander line. Marleau and Brown for wingers? Poor Willy...

I say that, and then he One Man Armies through the Capitals defense in the zone AGAIN and gets a great chance off his back hand in the slot.

The Leafs get a PP! Or... wait, no that’s what TSN said but it turns out that Rielly took the penalty, with the refs missing that Ovechkin kicked Hyman’s stick away from him. Upcoming Ovechkin PP goal... called it! 1-0 Caps on a vintage Ovechkin goal.

I don’t usually jump aboard the refs bashing bandwagon these days, but that was fucking bush league horseshit. Now ask me what I really think.

And then Zaitsev got the softest fucking interference penalty I can remember seeing this year. Did Babcock kick one of the refs’ dogs or something?

The Leafs thankfully kill off the penalty but get hemmed in for a while after. What had been an increasingly dominant game by the Leafs to that point fell off the rails for them thanks to those calls and non-calls.

Miraculously, the Leafs actually get a power play chance of their own, and Nylander almost put one in on the delayed penalty after a sweeeeeeeeet dance along the blueline. Karmic justice says the Leafs tie it up here.

Not only do they not tie it up, despite some chances, but when it gets back to 5 on 5 Connolly beats a few Leafs in the slot and scores to make it 2-0. I’m starting to deeply dislike this game.

Second Period Thoughts

  • Fuck the refs
  • Fuck Ovechkin
  • Fuck Tom Wilson
  • Fuck that period

THIRD PERIOD

The first five minutes were mostly uneventful, but I could sort of see the Leafs start to dominate the game like they did the first period. It all leads to a goal, with Matthews with a brilliant wrap around pass (or failed shot that worked perfectly as a pass) to Johnsson. 2-1 Capitals.

The goal went to the Leafs’ legs, as a flurry of chances in close by Hyman led to a penalty to the Capitals and a powerplay for the Leafs! Instead Tom fucking Wilson scores a short handed goal and there is no god. There is only darkness and pain and Tom Wilson’s stupid face. 3-1 Capitals. Here’s a replay of the goal:

And now Muzzin cuts the powerplay short with a slashing penalty. I officially hate this game. They at least kill off the penalty but they have a deeper hole to dig themselves out of without much time left to do it.

The next few periods are mostly uneventful except for a Marner chance he passed away. Otherwise, it’s sloppy. The Leafs’ defense caused a lot of unforced turnovers, which prevented them from getting any sustained pressure to get back into the game.

A brilliant flip pass led to Brown almost having a clear breakaway, but he just couldn’t get to the puck in time to get a clean shot. Holtby’s had himself a game tonight.

The Leafs pulled the net with around 3 minutes to go, but never really got anything going. Pucks bouncing, swinging sticks wildly, looks like they’re as frustrated with the game as I feel about it.

Tavares did get a goal, but there was only 30 seconds left at that point. He made it interesting but they never had a good shot to tie it in the short time remaining.

Final Thoughts

The Leafs dominated for stretches, looked sloppy for the rest, and the refs helped derail their strong start to the game. Credit to the Capitals, they took advantage of the breaks they got and Holtby did the rest for them. Some of the Leafs looked frustrated, especially Marner who at one point sounded like he cussed out someone, maybe a ref.

This game was bad and it made me feel bad.