The Leafs gave up and so did I, but I gave up later than they did.
You know that saying, “don’t play down to your opponent”? Well, apparently the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t get that memo as they played like absolute garbage in this game from the second period onward.
This game will be masked by the amazing debut win for EBUG and Marlies zamboni driver David Ayres — and I wish I could just remember that because it’s a freaking amazing story — but I cannot in good conscious forget that effort the Leafs gave. Some numbers.
Here’s how many shots each goalie faced (these stats took awhile to find because the EBUG situation broke a lot of websites):
- James Reimer = 1/1 (6 mins)
- Petr Mrazek = 14/15 (25 mins)
- David Ayres = 8/10 (29 mins)
- Frederik Andersen = 41/47 (60 mins)
Before anyone complains about Freddy Andersen losing the Leafs this game, watch the video from this game. The Leafs gave up. They gave up. They gave up 47 shots to the Canes. They had 35% of the shots in this game. This was not acceptable.
I don’t know what else to say about this game that I haven’t said below, but believe me, we’ll have lots to say about this effort at this site in the coming days.
Right on the first shift I had a full-on heart attack. Justin Holl and Andrei Svechnikov were battling as Svechnikov was trying to drive the net. The two ran into Freddy Andersen as the forgotten puck seemed to slide towards the goal line in slow mo. Denis Malgin was able to clear the puck as the three players converged. Andersen got a stick to the neck and the ribs and was slow to get up, but he continued in the game.
On the next shift, Zach Hyman somewhat drove Jaccob Slavin into James Reimer. Hyman got an interference penalty, which... fair. Reimer was very slow to get up and was being assessed for a couple minutes before he decided to stay in the game. Petr Mrazek had all his pads on and a leg over the boards when Reimer made the call.
Hang in there, Steve.
Reimer did end up leaving the game while everyone else was focused on a different injury...
Yep, Tyson Barrie died by Svechnikov’s hand. The two were slowing down for a puck in the corner. Svechnikov clearly pushed Barrie through the boards, slamming his right shoulder/elbow into the immovable object. The fallout did not look good as Barrie just let his arm hang as he skated to the bench.
Sure he's getting a penalty, but this should be a suspension pic.twitter.com/OA5F9WhpZq— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2020
During the first intermission, Kevin Bieksa called the hit a bad one, meanwhile Kelly Hrudey called the hit Barrie’s fault, and Elliotte Friedman (on Twitter) called it clean.
Barrie skates off letting his right arm hang pic.twitter.com/U2zZLZh16p— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2020
The rest of the first period just compiled of both teams running into each other’s goalies. That’s it. That’s the period.
Actually, I spoke too soon. Alex Kerfoot got the Leafs on the board by finding the rebound from a Jake Muzzin shot from the slot. That’s four points in two games for Muzzin (1g, 3a) and two points for Kerfoot in his last two. All of a sudden, the old-but-new third line has goals in back to back games.
Muzzin sends a shot on net and Kerfoot picks up the rebound. 1-0. pic.twitter.com/RlyjFVZJLk— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2020
I gotta say, the Leafs were really good in the first. they out-shot the Canes 17-9 at 5v5 in the period, including 60% of the expected goals. If they actually carried their play through from the first into the later two, they might’ve put 10 on the Canes. Alas, they turned into a OJHL team.
I... Barrie returned to the game?.. I... Wow.
Tyson Barrie is back for the second period— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) February 23, 2020
The Leafs had two good plays early in the second period that I liked. The first one was Denis Malgin on the forecheck. He’s a feisty guy with quick feet and the brains to know how to be the most effective. He created a turnover here that led to a William Nylander chance that almost worked.
Denis Malgin gets in on the forecheck and sets up Nylander pic.twitter.com/SF8dbryXEZ— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2020
Kasperi Kapanen was another player that impressed me early in the period. Especially his speed. He finally looks capable of using it effectively. I think his role on the third line is perfect for him. Not a lot of responsibility to play really great in the cycle, but he’s during line changes and gives his teammates time and space off the rush.
Kapanen gets a chance on Mrazek after breaking into the zone pic.twitter.com/SNI0RCY4ym— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2020
That’s when the normal hockey game ended and the craziness began.
Lucas Wallmark was left alone after Brock McGinn drove the net and carried four Leafs with him. It was a pretty easy goal for Wallmark at this point. How he was left unattended, only Kyle Dubas can answer for.
Lucas Wallmark ties the game for the Hurricanes. 1-1. pic.twitter.com/1HC71FSjFQ— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2020
This goal was Paul Fenton’s fault. Thanks, Minnesota. Nino Niederreiter scored with a snipe from the top of the slot on the power play with Nylander in the box for high sticking.
56 seconds later, Warren Foegle also scored. I don’t know how to feel about any of the efforts provided by the Leafs on this goal. No skating, all reaching. Awful.
Clifford on Mrazek. Initially called goalie interference. Then a five minute goalie interference MAJOR. Then the Situation Room in Toronto (funny how they called it the situation room instead of just Toronto) called down and told the referees to reverse their call using an official review. The penalty ended up being just two minutes for charging. Still shouldn’t have been a penalty.
But that’s not the most exciting part. Emergency Backup Goaltender (EBUG) Dave Ayres, who is the zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies (and even served as the EBUG for the Charlotte Checker (AHL team for the Canes) on February 1st. He didn’t play in that game, so this was his pro hockey debut.
FUCK ME!!!!— Sarah Ayres (@35Ayres) February 23, 2020
Ayres has been the extra goalie for the Leafs a lot the past few years, including Freddy Andersen days off during practices and playing in net during the Leafs outdoor scrimmages around the city. You may remember him as “Other Guy” in all the Leafs practices.
42-year-old David Ayres in a Marlies mask pic.twitter.com/V9Qg45D3oD— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2020
Hindsight: no, let’s not go.
LEAFS vs. MARLIES LETS GOOOOOO— Hardev Lad (@HardevLad) February 23, 2020
Aho scored a second power play goal for the Canes. The Leafs once again just missing assignments. I’m not even going to analyze this. How can I? I don’t have the energy.
Another wild moment. The Leafs took a shot. IT was John Tavares and he scored. Surprisingly, the Leafs didn’t do much of that for the rest of the game.
Pierre Engvall took another shot for the Leafs and it also went in. I started to feel a little bad for the Canes at this point. That feeling didn’t last.
Pierre Engvall brings the Leafs within one pic.twitter.com/FW0gZ6G4pl— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2020
A Leafs power play and two breakaways ensued. The Leafs didn’t get a shot off while Andersen stopped two in a row.
Freddie with a big save on Aho shorthanded pic.twitter.com/2Ue41pmIqu— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2020
Clifford and Joel Edmundson fight.
Clifford collides with Edmundson and the two drop the gloves pic.twitter.com/LWANjBZ6Pm— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 23, 2020
To summarize. a definitely injured Barrie returned to the game after a big hit. The Canes scored four straight goals. EBUG Dave Ayres comes in and gives up two goals to John Tavares and Pierre Engvall. The Canes get two breakaways. Brett Pesce got injured. Clifford and Edmundson fought. And both Twitter and my brain turned into mush.
In terms of the team’s actual play on the ice, it was trash. Barrie did not look okay. The power play gave up multiple breakaways. Andersen wasn’t moving well, despite also making some big saves. Honestly, they just couldn’t take a shot. The shots were 19-38 by the end of the second period. That’s insanely bad.
What shots? I must’ve missed them actually taking shots.— Platinum Seat Ghosts (@3rdPeriodSuits) February 23, 2020
Emergency goalie David Ayres leads Carolina out for the third period— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) February 23, 2020
The puck bounced off the stick of Malgin and Foegle scored yet again. I can’t.
Warren Foegele scores. He has 2 goals tonight, and the Hurricanes are up 5-3 in Toronto. The score is 2-2 since the zamboni driver entered the game for Carolina. pic.twitter.com/ZhkitkcUs1— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) February 23, 2020
WHAT THE FUCK. I’m not analyzing this.
THEN THE LEAFS PROCEEDED TO DO NOTHING FOR THE REST OF THE PERIOD.
They weren’t skating. The forwards in the top six just bailed the zone and stood at the offensive blueline waiting for someone to give them the puck. The defense couldn’t handle a single forechecker, spinning back and back and back and back until they ran into the boards as hard as Barrie in the first.
The entire top six essentially got benched in the last five minutes. Deservedly benched.
The body language from them. I can’t.
I want to call out individual players but I’ll be here all night and I’ll get yelled at for naming someone specifically or not naming them. I don’t know. Go home, Leafs, and pray you get traded or you don’t get traded. Whichever works for you.