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Recap: Toronto Maple Leafs somehow beat Dallas Stars 5-3

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The Leafs were bad through two periods, but built a lead they held thanks to a good third

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Dallas Stars Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

GO LEAFS GO!

PERIOD ONE

Get ready for a lot of excitement like this, folks. It’s how Dallas has been playing of late.

Guys, I think we solved our backup goalie problem! His name is Tyson Barrie.

Jake Muzzin with the Leafs’ first good scoring chance.

“Nice Pass Baby!” — Auston Matthews Makes It 1-0 Leafs

What do you think of the goal, Auston?

Maybe Matthews was actually talking about this ridiculous pass from William Nylander that John Tavares couldn’t convert.

Thank you Freddie....

Gurianoooooooooooooooooooo — Tie Game 1-1

First Period Thoughts

Offense: It was a predictably dry period for offense, at least for the Leafs. They barely had 0.50 in expected goals, and you can see why in the heat map below. Dallas actually kept shots to the outside. They might have finished with more shots on goal, but shot attempts were even and expected goals strongly favoured Dallas.

Defense: The defense was okay, I thought, until they sort of fell asleep after they scored their goal. They were even with the Stars in expected goals until that flurry and breakaway goal with a few minutes left.

Special teams: No penalties at all.

Lines: The third and fourth lines were varying degrees of meh to sorta bad. The top two lines were okay to good. The Travis Dermott-Tyson Barrie pair got absolutely caved the eff in.

PERIOD TWO

Leafs open the period with two 2 on 1’s they can’t seal the deal on, but it didn’t matter because Matthews, Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman hooked up for a BEAUTY of a goal.

Okay Fulemin We Get It You Were Right — Hyman Makes It 2-1

COMEAU HIT RASMUS SANDIN SOMEONE KILL HIM! A dangerous hit from behind and boarding that resulted in a scrum where the Leafs get the only penalty, of course. Leafs do kill it off.

Johnsson Hit the Post, Barrie Hit the Net — 3-1 Leafs

Guys, point shots are actually good!

Leafs Coverage Breaks Down and Leads to Goal Against — 3-2 Leafs

Like three or four Leafs in the zone and not a one of them bothered to take either of the two Stars wide open in the slot.

Second Period Thoughts

Offense: Somehow the Leafs outscored the Stars 2-0 in that period considering they were pretty ass for the first 13 or so minutes. The shot attempts were 15-3 for Dallas at one point in the period. They finished the period with only 10 shot attempts at even strength, and only 25% in expected goals.

Defense: The defense at least was less bad than it was in the first period at least? Not by much mind you. (Watches Dallas’ second goal again) okay it was just as bad. They gave up slightly more shot attempts and expected goals against and it’s allllllll coming in front of the net.

Special teams: One powerplay per team with no goals either way. I’ll give the Leafs a passing grade for at least not giving up a goal.

Lines: Because of how bad the second period was there are now no good lines. Kerfoot is the only player on the team above 50% in expected goals, and that’s 50.15%. It was a REALLY rough period for the Sandin-Ceci pairing, not just because they got burned for Dallas’ only goal.

Added thought: I think the Leafs may have decided over the bye week to try using stretch passes more. They suddenly stopped that this season, even under Keefe they didn’t seem to try it much, but I’ve noticed in the Preds game and now tonight that they’re at least trying it a bit more.

Expected goals chart:

PERIOD THREE

Period starts wide open, with end to end chances for both teams.

But only one thicc Swedish man had the skill and determination to score where everyone before him failed...

Willy Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop — 4-2 Leafs

Leafs Giveth, Leafs Taketh Away — Lead Cut to 4-3

Hyman putting in work on the PK.

It’s been this kind of game...

Andreas Johnsson seals the deal with an empty net goal to make it 5-3 with seconds to go.

Final Thoughts

Offense: In the first half of the third period alone, the Leafs almost matched their expected goals for from the first two periods. They tailed off on the pressure for a bit due to the penalty to Spezza and a late Dallas push, but they did look more composed and limited risky plays and turnovers.

Defense: They also looked more composed on defense in the third period, even if they did kinda turtle a bit near the end they at least weren’t leaving guys wide open or giving up grade-A scoring chances.

Special teams: Leafs had one penalty to kill and they did a darn good job, Hyman in particular was a beast and a menace.

Lines: In the end it was the Leafs’ top two lines who carried the day. They got all the goals and played the best, with the Muzzin-Holl pair helping them at least tread water all game. The other two pairs were pretty awful for most of the game.

Poll

Who was your player of the game?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Matthews
    (69 votes)
  • 34%
    Marner
    (211 votes)
  • 29%
    Nylander
    (178 votes)
  • 25%
    Freddie
    (155 votes)
613 votes total Vote Now