The Toronto Maple Leafs almost scored right off the first face off. They came out hard so fast I didn't even think of an intro for the recap. And no, we’re not doing phrasing any more.
Tonight the Maple Leafs faced the Vegas Golden Knights for the first time since 2019, when Mike Babcock was coaching the team ᵃⁿᵈ ʷʰⁱˡᵉ ᵉᵛᵉʳʸᵒⁿᵉ ᵏⁿᵉʷ ᵃᵇᵒᵘᵗ ʰⁱˢ ᵈᵉᵃˡⁱⁿᵍˢ ʷⁱᵗʰ ᵐⁱᵗᶜʰ ᵐᵃʳⁿᵉʳ ᵗʰᵉʸ ᵃˡˡ ˢᵃᵗ ᵒⁿ ᵗʰᵉ ⁿᵉʷˢ ᵗᵒ ᵖʳᵒᵗᵉᶜᵗ ᵗʰᵉⁱʳ ᵃᶜᶜᵉˢˢ, and neither of tonight’s starting goalies were on these teams. Robin Lehner last played in Scotiabank Arena as a New York Islander, and Jack Campbell wasn’t yet a Maple Leaf.
So, anyway, as I said the opening 20 seconds are wild and crazy at the Vegas net, and things don’t really calm down that much from then on. It’s a run and gun start to the game, and I welcome it.
William Nylander gets the first scoring chance of the game pic.twitter.com/xVFmMto1Uj— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 2, 2021
Nick Ritchie came that close to getting the first goal pic.twitter.com/NRjPklDUHq— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 2, 2021
Halfway through the period the Maple Leafs control play with ease, leading in shots 6-1, and are not easing up at all. They’re going to need some naps in intermission. On another of their many rushes into the Vegas end Mitch Marner scores his second of the year to give the Leafs the lead.
Once again we have a high sticking penalty reversed, except this time it isn’t in the Leafs favour as Michael Bunting high sticks himself(?). Ondřej Kaše gets rocked into the boards by Will Carrier, hitting the corner of the boards ribs first.
In the Vegas zone Robin Lehner tries to clear the puck but instead makes a solid tape to tape pass to Jason Spezza, sadly Spezza shoots pretty wide of the net from a bad angle. There are lots more shots not going in the Vegas net, and it’s getting very annoying.
Kase nearly set up Kampf for a tap-in pic.twitter.com/ABwkrFbIMb— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 2, 2021
Of course, i complain about the lack of goals and Jack Campbell almost gets beat on a wrap around where he leaves half the net oen.
The Leafs in the first period have had triple the shots, double the possession time and are only leading 1-0. Lehner has had a very good game so far.
Not to be lost with all the shooting, Wayne Simmonds is doing Wayne Simmonds things:
At the start of the second, the Leafs pick up exactly where they left off. Unfortunately so did Lehner. While the Leafs play the body and find every chance to take a shot, Lehner is there flipping around, making crazy saves.
John Tavares doesn't care who you are pic.twitter.com/FJbj207uff— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2021
Brayden McNabb is called for tripping Michael Bunting, and it’s late for the first penalty of the game. The Leafs power play is dominant once again, and we spend the majority of the time in front of the Vegas net until Auston Matthews doubles the Leafs lead. 2-0 Toronto.
AUSTON MATTHEWS— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2021
Nylander to Matthews pic.twitter.com/750rZB374A
Vegas is up for anything to try and get an edge in this game. Halfway through and the Leafs have more than doubled the shots on net (19-8) so Vegas resorts to the old “take out the goalie” routine.
The Leafs ignore this (so do the refs) and keep on working to destroy the hopes and dreams of the Knights. This time it’s Bunting’s turn:
Timothy Liljegren is called for hooking while just doing his job, so Vegas gets their even up call. It doesn’t matter much because Mitch Marner almost got a short handed breakaway and Vegas got no shots on goal, so it was a wasted power play.
They get another chance as Wayne Simmonds is also called for hooking, and listen, I know it’s a popular past time when Vegas is involved, but let’s knock it off here ok. Vegas gets their first shot when Jonathan Marchessault tries to jam in a rebound at the post, but Campbell stops him. That’s Vegas’ 10th shot and it took them 35 minutes to get there.
As we count down the seconds to end the second period, Auston Matthews wants to go out on a high note, and scores his second of the game.
AUSTON MATTHEWS— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2021
Keefe went All-Star Mode and the line scores pic.twitter.com/YiREE5AmFh
After two, it’s 3-0 Toronto.
The Leafs come out of the gate fast once again, almost scoring off the faceoff with Nylander shooting the puck into Lehners face, and Michael Bunting coming close on the rebound.
Nylander back with another scoring chance to start a period— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2021
Bunting there on the rebound pic.twitter.com/CQjRuruHpt
Think he’s done. He isn’t. Nylander comes right back and scores the teams fourth goal of the game. 4-0 Maple Leafs.
WILLIAM NYLANDER— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2021
The core four getting more! pic.twitter.com/KmRrM44zgn
That’s goals from Marner, Matthews, AND Nylander.
They could, and they did.
They can also keep the shutout going. Vegas starts coming close to evening things up in the shots department, but Campbell is on top of his game despite not being tested nearly as much as Robin Lehner is.
They try for a fifth, sixth, and seventh goal as they pound the puck at the Vegas net over and over again. Wraparound, slap shots, point shots, all in a single play but nothing into the net. in all the excitement someone jumps into the play early and the Leafs get a too many men penalty, served by John Tavares.
Marner got Lehner to bit on the shot but he makes the save pic.twitter.com/bfnbVrWu4e— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2021
What a flurry from the Tavares line pic.twitter.com/YuqNR1pOz4— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 3, 2021
Vegas again gets a lot of zone time, but Campbell loves the challenge.
The Leafs don’t let up with the lead, playing a solid game defensively as the clock ticks down to end the game. When the buzzer goes, Jack Campbell gets the shutout, and the Leafs win their third straight game.
It was a great night for a home game, the crowd was into it, lots to cheer for, and it’s what we expect from the Maple Leafs every night.
- It was TJ Brodies 700th career NHL game
- It took me the entire game to get through to a Rogers service rep.
- Travis Dermott didn’t play after the first period. He blocked a shot with his foot. He had X-Rays, they didn’t show a break.
The Maple Leafs next game is Thursday night at 7PM, at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
See you all then!