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Recap: Leafs play just as well as they need to to beat the Senators 4-2

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Marcus Hogberg found the Leafs offence too high a hill to climb and was pulled after three goals. Campbell was solid.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Let’s play the Ottawa Senators! Tonight’s version of the Sens features goalie prospect Marcus Hogberg, who seems like he’s been their best goalie this season, so that’s good. Let’s see how he does vs Jack Campbell.

First Period

The third line starts, so Jason Spezza takes the opening faceoff.

Zach Hyman is back with Auston Matthews, but William Nylander is still playing LW, just with John Tavares.

This is a very open north-south game for Ottawa to be in. They’ll want to cut that out as soon as possible.

And to the relief of all, Jack Campbell makes a save on the first shot on goal. Hogberg, on the other hand...

After a very inept-looking offensive shift that began with Pierre Engvall gaining the zone while his line changed to the Matthews line, it ended like this:

1-0 Leafs, Matthews is now at 42 goals.

And that is not good goalie-ing. I approve. (Or good defending.)

Nylander, in a LW fashion, sets up Alexander Kerfoot for a good chance, and then seconds later, Nylander gets a breakaway.

Wheee, a Tyson Barrie stretch pass (he’s really, really good at those) to Kasperi Kapanen, and it’s suddenly last spring, and there’s another rush chance.

I don’t think this is just our collective eyetest here, I think the Leafs are playing the long game more.

Auston Matthews takes a penalty for tripping, and Campbell is under heavy siege in the early part of the Sens PP. Not ideal, guys.

Wow, that’s Connor Brown on their PP, Leafs, how are you having so much trouble here?

The penalty finally ends, mercifully, and that was a scary scene for 2 minutes saved by the Sens lack of shooting skill.

Kappy dumps Goloubef in the corner and they push and shove their way to the box and we have four-on-four now.

The Leafs attempt some cycle play, and at this point, I don’t believe they have a single shot-on-goal off the cycle, and they make some comic mistakes where they keep giving up the puck with no shots being fired. Maybe go back to the rush game, guys.

The next cycle try has some really slick passing where Sandin weaves up and back with a forward, and then Kapanen lets it go offside at the blueline.

The comic ineptitude has moved to the defensive zone, but Campbell has the save right at the post.

We have a little bit of zone time, and Justin Holl gets the only shot.

Marner with an inept giveaway, and Campbell has the save on Anisimov.

Wow! The second last shift of the period has a messy cycle play turn into a good Sandin shot. Hogberg just barely saves it.

And that’s the first period in the books. I like the score! I have to say that is the best part of that 20 minutes.

Thoughts

  • I say comic, but you know, that wasn’t really funny there for a while. Inept, but not funny.
  • Sens dominated to excess in Corsi, less in xG, and that one bad play by Hogberg is the difference in goals.
  • The Leafs cycle took them as far (and was as pricey) as a Peloton bike.
  • The rush game looked dangerous, and that’s reasonable against the Sens.

For the haters of heatmaps, I bring you Evolving Hockey’s information-rich shotmaps:

Second Period

Leafs open with some pressure, giving Campbell a bit of a break. Tyson Barrie has a nice shot for a tip that Hogberg sweeps away from Zach Hyman.

And then Jake Muzzin sees a screen to die for, so he goes for it. See, not all point shots are bad, it’s all about balance.

2-0 Leafs.

Timothy Liljegren with an assist for his first point in the NHL.

Leafs, I have to tell you, putting the pedal down and just blowing the Sens away will be fine with me.

Leafs look less comically inept, and more like they’re doing the best they can, and Campbell still has to make some saves.

Another beautiful Barrie stretch pass, wow.

We pause for this glimpse into the future:

The Leafs get a power play, not for that mugging on Timashov, that was earlier, this was for the mugging on Engvall.

This is a very ring-around-the-rosie PP for Leafs, which is galling after the Sens spun the Leafs into spirals on their power play opportunity. The broadcast thinks it’s good because they never get broken up, but the Leafs don’t seem to be getting quality shots here.

Brown gets a breakaway as the penalty ends, and Campbell has it.

Leafs keep picking the puck off in the neutral zone and getting the sort of cross-ice passes you like to see. They haven’t added a go...er, now they have.

Turnover - Nylander - Tavares - Nylander

3-0 Leafs.

And Hogberg gets pulled. I’m not sure those last two goals are at all on him, poor guy.

AGGGGH. They do the stupid “used to be a perimeter player” bit with Nylander, and just shut up about it if you won’t debunk that junk.

The Leafs get called for interference, so let’s see a better kill, okay, guys?

Through a lot of misadventures, the Sens never really get set up, so that’s a good kill for the Leafs. The Sens are definitely the inept team now, however.

Barrie’s clearing pass bounces off the ref’s skate, and that breaks up the play, so this happens:

3-1 Leafs.

Connor Brown with the goal.

Leafs come back from that disappointment with some good pressure. They even have some cycles that go somewhere.

Thoughts

  • Great period of hockey where the Leafs played to their strengths and the other team’s weaknesses at the same time!
  • The stats call it for the Sens unless you add in the PP, but I still say that was well-played by the Leafs to get the right kind of offence through the Sens defending.
  • You can laugh off a flukey goal against when you’ve played that well for the entire period. It works for whole games too, though, which the Leafs seem not to know.
  • Some defender ice time for you (Keefe is mixing up his pairs, though):
  • Barrie: 12:51, Dermott: 11:52, Muzzin: 11:04, Holl: 10:15 with Sandin and Liljegren within two seconds of 8 minutes each.
  • Not the first game Holl is getting pushed down for Dermott.

Third Period

Now the task is to not defend like total trash for 20 minutes. The Leafs have been allowing the sort of shots against that would be costing them from a better team.

The Leafs have Craig Anderson literally down and out and can’t beat him. Some days.

Cody Goloubef gets one back. He’s a guy I’ve heard of and you haven’t, unless you’ve watched one of the 8 million Marlies vs B-Sens games last year,

3-2 Leafs.

Leafs are dummying the Sens in Expected Goals in this period, by the way. This is a “shit happens” scoreline now, and the Leafs are handling this game very well minus the first period.

The Leafs take a penalty for not being the Bruins, I think, so it’s PK time.

Glorious shorty chance from Hyman after a good one by Engvall. Anderson with a spectacular save.

Okay, this came up in conversation. Not counting this game, who on the Leafs has the most shorthanded “shot attempts”? In total, not rated out by minute played. You fight it out in comments.

That was a good PK, guys.

Campbell with a great save on a Sens rush chance. Come on, guys, it’s under 4 minutes, close this out.

Nylander with a crazy rush, and you know... okay fine, whatever, it beats a turtle.

2 minutes to go, and in short order Anderson is pulled.

Woot. Mitch Marner gets an ENG from downtown Ottawa, and that’s the ball game.

Leafs take it 4-2


During the game, the most effusive agent in hockey seems to have scooped the Leafs:

I watched the B-Sens blow a 4-0 lead against the Marlies today. Egor Korshkov won it in OT 7-6, and I wondered if he’d done enough to get a callup. Mason Marchment has been scoring, but he’s also been taking really stupid penalties. He did tonight again. Korshkov plays like a pro. Has he got enough for the NHL? We might find out tomorrow.