To start, I just wanted to note that this game was played under the weight of the released report about the Chicago investigation into their coverup of a player being assaulted. It was hard to get excited for a game under those circumstances. I tried.
Now, the recap that I put just as much effort into as the Maple Leafs did into tonight’s game.
Coming into tonight Chicago hasn’t won a game this season and the Maple Leafs are on a four game losing streak, and a season long streak of questionable play. Chicago comes out hungry to take the lead, and the Toronto defense holds up to start.
The puck bobbles in front of Jack covers up pic.twitter.com/dwqFi5pMGW— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 27, 2021
Michael Bunting gets the games first penalty, being called for tripping Adam Gaudette. Gaudette catches Mitch Marner in the groin with his stick as he goes down, but Marner seems fine afterwards.
Bunting is called while Marner takes a shot to the groin pic.twitter.com/F8WttyTz6H— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 27, 2021
There’s no power play goal for Chicago, but they quickly score after the man advantage. Kirby Dach gets his third goal of the season.
Play continues in the Maple Leafs zone, and Ryan Carpenter almost doubles the score, but isn’t able to get the puck past Jack Campbell. A scrum in the corner follows the whistle. The Maple Leafs get a weak shot on net, but it’s a bad angle, and Kevin Lankinen makes the save.
Then we go right back to Chicago offense, because why not let a winless team control the game? Speaking of, Seth Jones springs Alex DeBrincat with a pass, who sneaks past the blue line and scores to make it 2-0 Chicago.
The Leafs take some shots, and seem to be realizing that they should be, you know, trying a bit. William Nylander is out there with some fire behind him and gets into a shoving match after a Chicago save. That’s nice to see. Michael Bunting almost scores on a rebound, but doesn’t.
Rebound opportunity for Bunting off the initial Matthews shot pic.twitter.com/rO7pdlkU21— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
As the first period nears its end the Maple Leafs end up matching the Blackhawks in shots, then briefly passing them. They just can’t beat whoever this Lankinen guy is however. Alex DeBrincat almost makes it 3-0 but shoots high over the net. Jason Spezza then does the same thing.
How does this keep happening?— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
Like Muzzin man, why are you there? pic.twitter.com/2fvqyRVaYd
Would you also believe the Leafs are leading in shot attempts by almost double? I wouldn’t. I hope you wouldn’t based on this recap. They are however at the end of the first period. I am also leading my household in weight loss attempts and we all have the same success rate. Here’s how they got some of those numbers:
Tavares trying to get a deflection in front pic.twitter.com/7z6mZfVxwJ— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
Spezza had a lot of time there and Simmonds was that close pic.twitter.com/w2e88sLxp8— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
Auston Matthews is mad, and frustrated, like we all are.
Auston Matthews going off on someone— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
Not sure who pic.twitter.com/HksWS9j9S0
First period ends. Chicago leads 2-0.
Shockingly, the second period starts.
Do the Leafs start this period better than the first? Of course not. There is some light in this dark dismal game. Rasmus Sandin, getting his first full time NHL shot this year puts in some hustle to his game.
Sandin gets back and deflects the pass attempt pic.twitter.com/z5OSInYD5q— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
That’s not the common play for the Leafs tonight.
Man, why do the Leafs give up so many odd-man rushes?— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
TJ Brodie gets called for holding, and it’s a little weak, but it stopped Tyler Johnson from scoring and Chicago didn’t score so it worked out.
The Maple Leafs put some pressure on in Chicago’s zone and John Tavares scores to cut the deficit in half. A real nice backhand that hits the cross bar and goes under.
Rielly carries the puck in. Marner to Tavares. pic.twitter.com/VuPujGyHfP— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
We briefly panic as Morgan rielly leaves the game for the Leafs room, but returns much to our relief. The Maple Leafs show some more offense, making us a little more excited at times, but still trail halfway through the game.
Pierre Engvall gets into it a bit with some guy, then Ryan Carpenter for Chicago intervenes. He and Engvall push and shove and roughhouse, and both go to the box, so we get two minutes of four on four hockey.
The hate doesn’t end there, after Chicago makes a save and forces a whistle there’s another scrum behind the net involving Engvall. Jake McCabe comes into the fray late and gets two for roughing giving Toronto their first power play of the game late in the second period.
The powerplay goes hard to tie the game. Shots from Tavares, Marner, Nylander all go wide or get blocked. The second unit comes out for the final 30 seconds. Ritchie and Spezza work well, but as the power play ends the puck gets to Chicago who take it to the Leafs end. No goals on the power play. Still 2-1 Chicago.
Jack reads the pass and makes the save pic.twitter.com/rKW1G7nD3E— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
As the second period comes to an end, Auston Matthews tries to tie the game but tangles his stick up with a Chicago forward and gets called for penalty.
The second period ends 2-1 Chicago.
The third begins with Chicago having 1:30 of a power play left and they take full advantage of it, getting the crowd on their feet for a couple almost goals, but Jack Campbell keeps the puck out. No goal on that power play, and after a couple minutes of Chicago control the Leafs get into their offensive zone for a couple seconds before Chicago takes it back.
Matthews gets in the shooting lane and takes a puck off the skate pic.twitter.com/dPjqJlpEqb— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
Chicago come screaming into the Leafs end, and they end up crashing the net. The ref points at the pile of bodies in the crease and everyone in Chicago assumes it’s a goal. The lights go off, the horn sounds, but the ref was pointing at a penalty to Philipp Kurashev on Chicago who gets a goaltender interference penalty.
Toronto’s second power play of the game gets some chances and rallies to shoot hard and fast but Chicago clogs the shooting lanes and blocks shots, frustrating the Leafs offense. The power play is the most motivated and offensive minded the Maple Leafs have been all game. They don’t score, of course.
When the Blackhawks get back into the Leafs zone, they take a couple hard shots from up high on the net; one goes off the post and then Jack Campbell dives across the crease to make the second save. Exciting times if you’re a Chicago fan.
At the halfway mark, the Leafs and Chicago trade chances going up and down the ice. Jake Muzzin almost gives away a goal when he can’t keep up with Chicago’s offense, but is bailed out by a wide shot.
The game is tied up by former Chicago player David Kämpf scoring on the backhand just like his captain.
Tavares giving Kampf some love— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
Simmonds kisses his helmet pic.twitter.com/bdBlt3kcOi
William Nylander is slashed by Calvin DeHaan, giving the Leafs their third power play of the game. The best thing about the Leafs tonight has been the power play, they set up well, and oh while I type this Mackenzie Entwhistle gets a breakaway. He didn’t score, but it was close. The Leafs come close a couple times, but can’t take the lead on this power play. They’re now 0-3 tonight with the man advantage,
Jack Campbell has bailed out the Leafs a few times tonight, and is one of the Leafs top players.
The Jack Campbell poke check strikes again pic.twitter.com/qluOG4Iyfr— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
Jack Campbell is keeping the Leafs in it pic.twitter.com/ahcj3Z3N4R— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) October 28, 2021
Both teams are playing for the win now, and it would be nice if the Leafs had done this from the start of the game, because you need to Start On Time™. The final couple minutes of the third are trading shots but Chicago has the edge on offense. The third ends, and we go to overtime.
Chicago comes at the Leafs hard to start but Jack Campbell keeps the puck out. After one big save by Jack, Auston Matthews has words and shoves for Seth Jones, letting his frustrations boil over. The Leafs come close to winning, but they can’t close the deal.
Auston Matthews and John Tavares have a two on one coming into the Chicago zone, but Tavares whiffs on a nice pass from Matthews and the play dies when Lankinen covers the puck.
William. Nylander. The hardest working Leaf forward this season (sorry Bunting fans) gets the puck off a rebound and comes in one on one with Lankinen, scores five hole, and gives the Maple Leafs a much needed win.
We need more from the Maple Leafs than waiting for overtime to show off the offense we know they have. A win is good, a win over a winless team is mandatory, and the Leafs hope this turns the discussion around. It won’t because the discussion is that they barely beat one of the worst teams in the NHL right now. Sigh. The more things change.....
The Maple Leafs next game is Saturday night against the Detroit Red Wings who are surprisingly second in the division.
We’ll see you on Hockey Night in Canada.