Thank goodness I’m not a fan of a west coast team. This whole “game starts at ten at night” thing is for the youths, not grown adults like me.
The Toronto Maple Leafs played their final game of the California road trip after going 0-1-1 in the first two games; not a great start for a trip against the three worst teams in the Western Conference.
Jack Campbell got the start in goal, as Frederik Andersen played last night against the Kings. The Leafs would start the game a little slow, feeling out their opponents. The WIlliam Nylander line would come close to an early goal, but the Ducks would open scoring when Carter Rowney puts one past Campbell.
The Anaheim Ducks picked up Andrew Agozzino off waivers from the Avalanche just ahead of the trade deadline, and he does his thing by tying up some Leafs in the corner. It’s not important, but Aggy was one of my favourite all time IceDogs and it’s nice to see him in the NHL. The corners Agozzino’s keeping the Leafs trapped in are their own as we spend most of the minutes after this goal in the Leafs end.
Jack Campbell is doing his best to keep the Leafs in this game, as the Ducks are preventing the Leafs from getting shots on net and keeping them from any quality scoring chances. He’s making saves and kicking out rebounds and keeping the Ducks at one goal.
The Anaheim Ducks are playing circles around the Leafs in the first period, as the Ducks are setting up pre-planned plays with ease and coming into the Leafs one in formation to dominate the weak defensive play by the Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs get a penalty when Ducks goaltender John Gibson is called for delay of game - puck over the glass - and Sam Steel sits in the box for him. The Leafs have a hard time setting up around the Ducks penalty kill, and the Ducks have an easy time getting the puck out of their zone.
The Leafs managed three shots on that power play, which brings their total for the first 15 minutes of the first period to five. They did not score on that power play.
The Ducks continue to dominate the play, as the Leafs float around the ice in a seemingly incoherent way. There’s no good forecheck, there’s no sense to the defense. Aside from Jack Campbell being awake and alert for every shot he’s facing it’s like the Leafs are still on eastern time and, like me, are just going through the motions waiting to go to bed.
The first period ends 1-0 Anaheim.
On the opening faceoff for the second period Zach Hyman gets taken down and is slow to get up at centre ice, while the Ducks take the puck into the Leafs end and force Jack Campbell to do some acrobatics to keep the flying puck out of the net.
John Tavares takes the puck and tries to even thing sup but he isn’t able to get it past John Gibson. The Ducks get the puck out by Kasperi Kapanen intercepts the pass at centre ice and gets the puck over the blue line, but it’s fumble out of possession and the Ducks move it out of their zone.
Hockey is played. Pucks are moved. Nothing of note happens.
The ice needs repairing in the Ducks crease, that’s interesting.
Justin Holl is called for tripping, giving the worst powerplay in the NHL the chance to double their lead over the Maple Leafs. They don’t get a good chance against this listless Maple Leafs team, which proves how bad they really are with the man advantage. ‘Halfway through the game it’s 1-0 Anaheim, shots are 17-13 in the Ducks favour.
The Leafs are able to put some fear into the Ducks and their fans for a minute as Auston Matthews comes close to tying the game twice in the Ducks end. The crowd wakes up as Matthews and Mitch Marner team up to attack John Gibson with the puck, but they aren’t able to get anything by him.
Kyle Clifford and Nicolas Deslauriers get into a scrap after Clifford drops Deslauriers with a hit by the boards. It stops a Ducks breakaway, causes something interesting to happen, and gives us a break from the lack of action.
Agozzino and Kapanen get into some pushing and shoving and stick holding as they work their way down the ice, and the rough stuff continues as Mitch Marner and some Duck get into some shenanigans of their own that see them both pull each other down onto the ice but one last trip from Marner sees him get penalized for that and gives the Ducks power play another chance.
Jack Campbell once again makes an amazing save to keep the Ducks at one goal, just some amazing work on this part to stonewall Ryan Getzlaf from four feet away. The Nicest Man in Hockey™ will probably apologize to Getzlaf for that after the game.
After two periods it’s still 1-0 Anaheim.
The third opens with 38 seconds left in Mitch Marners tripping penalty. The rest didn’t help the Ducks power play as the Leafs control the play and keep the Ducks from making an impact with the man advantage. The Leafs gets a couple scoring chances following the penalty expiring., but Gibson makes the saves.
William Nylander comes into the Ducks zone alone and gets a good shot off the pads of Gibson, but no one is there to jump on the rebound and half empty net. The Ducks get the puck however, and make an attempt on Jack Campbell. No goal for them and David Backes gets called for boarding Dennis Malgin, so the Leafs get another power play.
John Gibson is a one man penalty kill for the Ducks, as he keeps the Leafs off the scoreboard when they get their shots off while on the power play.
Halfway through the third period shots are 10-0 for the Maple Leafs, but they can’t get anything into the back of the net to break Gibson’s shutout. The Ducks are responding to the Leafs attack by crowding the net, trying to block and sight line they may have when shooting, and it’s work as the Leafs are trying fewer far shots and trying to get wrap-arounds and dirty chip in goals.
The Ducks get a chance to go into the Leafs zone, and while they aren’t as dominant they get what they need when Adam Henrique has a clear view of the net and gets a puck past Jack Campbell to double up on the Leafs and make it 2-0.
John Gibson seems to have gotten hurt in the Leafs scramble around the net before that goal, and Ryan Miller gets ready and steps into the Ducks net with half a period to go.
The Leafs get some six on five time as there’s a delayed tripping call against Kiefer Sherwood of the Ducks, but they Leafs can’t capitalize and the power play begins. The Leafs can’t capitalize on a power play against a cold goalie either and we get to the final five minutes of the game with the score still 2-0.
The Leafs do try to score after this, keeping the Ducks in their own end for a few minutes, and after the Ducks ice the puck they pull Campbell with 3:11 left in the game. The gambit pays off when William Nylander scores to cut the lead to one and break the shutout.
The play goes to the Leafs end after they get called for icing, but Campbell is pulled again with 1:30 to go as the Leafs try to tie the game. The Ducks swarm the puck as it enters their zone, depriving the Leafs of good chances to get shots at Miller. Auston Matthews has a close shot from the slot, but Miller keeps it out.
The Leafs call a time out with 38 seconds left, Campbell stays out of the net.
The Leafs win the draw, but Auston Matthews misses a pass and the Ducks get the puck out of their zone. The Leafs struggle to get back into the offensive zone, and the Ducks ice the puck out of their end as the buzzer goes.
The Leafs woke up after the clock struck midnight, but it wasn’t enough and the Leafs lose 2-1.
Three games against the worst teams in the Western Conference and the Leafs take just one of six possible points.
There’s no Saturday night game this weekend, and the Leafs are off until Tuesday night, when they’ll play the Tampa Bay Lightning.