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Leafs miss the net, get shut out by Penguins 2-0

Lots of shots, but none that actually matter.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 20: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs one times a shot against the Pittsburgh Penguins during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 20, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs got shutout 2-0 at the hands of Tristan Jarry and the Pittsburgh Penguins. You could say this was a marginally better loss (if that’s possible) than the 7-1 embarrassment three Saturday’s ago, but not by much.

The Leafs won the shot quantity battle, lost the shot quality battle, and won the goalpost battle by a long distance. Jarry made all 26 shots the Leafs threw his way, while Jack Campbell gave up two goals on 31 shots.

They just didn’t hit the net. On 63 shot attempts, only 26 were on target. Meanwhile the Penguins got much more efficiency with 31 on target from 47 shot attempts. So the heat maps look great, but things fall away very quickly when you look deeper into the quality of shots and what can actually turn into goals.

First Period

Marner got the first chance of the game after Matthews was hauled down at the top of the zone. Marner made a nice deke to get around some sticks before ringing a shot off the crossbar.

0-1

Guentzel opened the scoring after a feed from Crosby around Liljegren and dipsy doodling past an extended Sandin. Not a great look for the third pair as they had to go up against Crosby’s line.

Rielly and Brodie showing the rookies how it’s done.

Marner, who was having a good first period, found Ritchie with a great pass, but the big winger couldn’t elevate the redirection to get it past Jarry.

Marner hits another post after Matthews found him with a great fake shot move. Auston was dancing. I guess Marner should take a couple more classes from the Spezza School of Terrible Angle Shots.

0-2

Woof. Jeff Carter was given an early Christmas present after both Muzzin and Holl were caught behind their Penguin counterparts.

After One

The Leafs definitely didn’t get any good bounces in the first period, but I would argue there’s a lot of bad positioning and slow skating coming from a team that is definitely slower in a straight line than these Penguins.

Shots were 16-14 in the Leafs favour, but they were once again behind in chance quality, 6-8 in scoring chances and 40% of expected goals.

Second Period

The Leafs were becoming more mistake-prone as the game went on, accumulating more and more chances against. A miscommunication here led to Brodie needing to make a big save.

Nylander had the next big chance on the short side after getting around his defender but he missed the net high. It was a quick move, but just not quite.

The fourth line was looking like the Leafs’ best (largely because they were playing the other team’s worst line), including several chances from Simmonds and this penalty draw from Bunting. Might’ve been a dive, but he got the call. On the power play, Marner took a shot that got blocked from the high slot, and then Nylander got stopped from a corner shot. Neither were optimal chances but it generated something at least.

Me too, Auston, me too.

After Two

It was a much better shot-share period for the Leafs, as they had the majority of chances 20-12. Unfortunately, it resulted in not as much quality as the quantity might’ve allowed. 57% expected goals is down 5% from the 62% shot share. Once again, the Penguins didn’t get many shots, but the vast majority of their shots were scoring chances (out of 12 shots, eight were scoring chances, while the Leafs had nine from 20).

Third Period

Engvall hit the post after a great pass from Kaše off the rush. During warm-ups, Engvall took a 150-ft backhander and hit the post. When Hornby tweeted that, I said Engvall was going to score tonight. Nope! He hit another post!

Muzzin and Holl got hemmed in their own zone for a shift because they were always a step slower than their opponents and Holl decided to skate any rebounds he retrieved into the corner and give them away. He did that twice on the same shift!

The Kämpf line was one of the best lines in the second and third periods, getting several great chances (including two Engvall shots) and then drew a penalty on Kapanen. As for why the Leafs didn’t score, please refer the fact that the two chances came from Engvall.

The power play was, once again, devoid of chances as the Penguins just got to all the loose pucks first.

Halfway through the third period, shots were 2-10 for the Leafs. Reminder, they were down by two!

Clock kept ticking down as the fourth line came on the ice and they got two great chances via Simmonds and Bunting. Bunting again drew another tripping penalty (probably another dive?) sending the Leafs to another power play with five minutes left. And then three seconds into the power play, Ruhwedel tripped up Matthews on the same spot on the ice.

Both Tavares and Nylander had great chances in the heart of the slot on the 5-on-3 power play but nothing was doing. But once the Penguins got the puck out of the zone, the Leafs couldn’t seem to get back into offensive zone for about half the time. Then both players came out of the box and the Leafs lost track of them. Crosby and Zucker got a 2-on-1 and Campbell had to make a ten-beller to stop him and even then the puck almost went in. Sandin had to save it from the goal line.

Third line got more chances, didn’t score.

And before you knew it, it was less than a minute left in the game, the fans had left the seats, and as I finish typing up this recap, the Leafs get shut out.