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Maple Leafs beat Calgary in OT

Matthews and Nylander with the goals. Dan Vladar with the great performance for the Flames.

Calgary Flames v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

Leafs are back home, Tavares is back in the lineup, Iggy and Kim St-Pierre are in the hall, let’s do this thing.

First Period

The Matthews line gets a really good offensive shift, and then just as the commentary is all about the big Flames, Nick Ritchie outplays a bunch of them.

After a couple of Lucic v Liljegren hits, Wayne Simmonds knocks down Mangiapane after a scrum and gets away with it. Ritchie did some defence on this play too. Can he settle in and contribute? Because it’s not your eyes lying to you, he’s been horribad.

Leafs using a lot of stretch passes and speed to take control of the puck and get offensive chances.

Leafs get a PP on a Calgary hooking call. Ritchie stays on the top unit as the net-front guy - likely his best event as a player. The second unit can’t really gain the zone, so that’s a zero as a PP.

JT not feeling so great after a shot block in the final minute.

Nylander with a Nylander rush to end the period, and the ensuing flurry gets the Leafs another PP. Most of it will be in the second period.

Thoughts

  • With Sandin on the roster regularly, I think we’ll see a few more point shots than the miniscule number the Leafs had last season
  • Nick Ritchie had a great period
  • The Leafs used their speed and puck stealing skills really well to exploit the Flames’ weaknesses - Nylander with the most 5on5 ice time, because he has the skills to beat the Flames
  • Most of that Calgary effectiveness came in a push near the end of the period after a lot of Leafs dominance

Second Period

Tavares starts the second on the PP, which looks very good. The hope here is that no one gets tinkering with it because the goals have been slow to come (relative to the chances).

The commentary goes back to the Flames big, grrr - arrrgh stuff and Ritchie walks up and knocks a guy over like a cat on your bedside table doing for your lamp. I like his timing on this tonight.

Marner gets a rush and draws another hooking call. More PP, but it comes up empty.

Toronto seems to have kicked it up a notch, and the big Flames can’t match it. Let’s hope that turns into Leafs goals.

This is called The Mo:

Oh, yeah. If Ritchie then Engvall get rush chances, you’ve lost a step on the opposition, Flames.

Yet another great chance from Nylander. He’s just been flying.

Keefe brings out the superline (Tavares, Matthews, Marner) everyone hates to try to open up this game. They get oohs and ahs from the crowd, but no goal.

And the second ends like the first: no goals.

Thoughts

  • Auston Matthews is having one of those days where the puck won’t do what he tells it
  • Nylander is the opposite
  • After two, the Leafs are at 52% CF and 5on5 and 61% xG. It was much more dramatic just before the Leafs push at the end because they were below 50-50 in Corsi. This is somewhat like the Flyers game in that respect.

Third Period

Okay, how is that not a goal? Vladar swam Lake Ontario while three Flames crowded the crease, and the Leafs can’t put it in. Amazing chance for Kämpf.

The game is turning dangerously to a track meet, and yup - Calgary Liljegren, Oliver Kylington gets the first goal:

1-0 Flames

Nylander is getting mad at this business of shots not going in. Who does this goalie think he is?

Kerfoot in some pain after he goes rolling into the net.

Leafs are doing everything but scoring, and it’s fun to blame whoever — Keefe, Dubas, the fates — but this has been a well played, well coached game by a team that has too few scorers, and now I gotta rewind, because I got pontificating there...

Oh, Big Willy Styles with a great shot on a nice dominating cycle together with Kaše.

Tie Game!

Kaše takes a tripping call after a near miss, and it was almost the Leafs game on a shorty, but nope.

Now the PK is over, the question is: will the Leafs play for the tie? It doesn’t look that way for either team right away, which is refreshing.

We are going to OT, nonetheless.

Thoughts

  • Pierre Engvall with a rough night — I noticed him several times doing useless things, which is a trick, considering how little he played
  • Good game so far with a grinder mentality that says never give up

Overtime

Matthews with the best chance early, and his shot is not great. Marner is, as usual with more ice, really amazing, setting up chances.

Sandin with the next great rush.

Campbell gets into a fix and gets himself out. Fantastic play from him to keep the game alive.

And that was inspiring enough, Matthews just walked in (like he’s Matthews) and scored (like he’s Matthews). Bad game forgotten!

2-1 Leafs in OT

Applause for Species doing the gifs tonight please!