Back to the Island, the home of so many happy memories. Remember the rubber snakes? That was fun, right up until the game got going. Let’s hope this one is better.
New lines tonight:
#Leafs line rushes during warmup vs. #Isles. Nov. 20/21— David Alter (@dalter) November 22, 2021
Boooo, says the crowd as JT starts.
Wayne Simmonds takes a slashing penalty, but Clutterbuck started it, and he gets to go to the box too.
Oh, great, just great. Timothy Liljegren gets his doors blown off and takes a desperation penalty, so forget that, it’s a four-on-three PP for the Isles.
David Kämpf just bulls the puck around behind the Islanders net on the PK, but can’t make it happen. Mitch Marner can, though:
Joe Woll finishes this PP off with some good work.
Simmonds with a nice chance. He was good vs the Penguins too. One of these days someone is going to score off his play at the net.
Another scoring chance for Wayne Simmonds— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 22, 2021
One of these is going to go in pic.twitter.com/77PaM54sBZ
This never gets old:
They’ll never stop implying that a big lead in hits isn’t actually really bad. Also, I hate this score bug and might write to the CRTC.
Leafs control the play a lot in the remaining minutes, but get a post from Jake Muzzin and a counter rush from J.G. Pageau that doesn’t amount to anything.
No heatmap for you, it’s too misleading on too few shots. So you’ll have to make do with this one:
All those Islanders misses helping Woll, and the team itself not have to admit they just concede the slot most games.
Brock Nelson out for the Islanders for unknown reasons. Always good when the team has multiple players in Covid protocol and they pull someone.
Islanders staging a mild pushback to start the period, but Woll is doing fine so far. The Islanders look weak and depleted.
Nick Ritchie with a nice move to give Kämpf a chance. I think Ritchie looks fine with the Czech-ing line. (what?)
Rasmus Sandin tries very hard to keep up with 90-year-old Kyle Palmieri, but he can’t, and Palmieri creates some very ineffectual offence.
Not gonna lie, this game is really boring. Both teams are tired and starting to circle in the neutral zone like they’d like to go back to the hotel/home and have a beer.
Michael Bunting, innocent young man he is, draws a penalty. To the Batmobile, er, not the power play we go.
Trying to come up with a word for this PP: flashback to April or maybe even 2020? Moribund? Something like that.
Palmieri takes a really dumb penalty, and the Leafs — who are now dominating this game while not getting very good chances — get another PP.
Yeah, okay, moribund it is.
Spezza takes a penalty for an accidental trip, which is likely just a mistake from the ref thinking he got his stick in there in a sneaky way.
Auston Matthews does a one-man against three routine and nearly scores on the 4on4. The Islanders PP is not exactly exciting either. The Leafs control the puck a lot.
Wow. Woll left the net wiiiiide open on a rebound, but the Islanders make nothing of it. That was the first AHL moment he’s had all game.
Naturally the Leafs stay hemmed in to see if he’ll do it again. Kämpf has to ice it.
And that period ends with no goals scored, and the Leafs controlling the play most of the time.
Now you get a heatmap. Look at the Leafs defence...
Sometimes the best defence is a good offence. Early on the Leafs good possession was showing up as fairly ordinary Expected Goals %, but that’s changed to 60-ish across the board. Still 1-0 though.
We open the period with me laughing in an intemperate manner as the broadcast claims the Islanders are keeping the shots to the outside. This is an unkillable trope that Trotz has magic powers. Most of the time his teams don’t do that any better than any other team.
And the Czeching line makes it 2-0! Great shift by them. Good plays by Ritchie and Kämpf, but it’s Kaše with the goal.
Ritchie with a key touch over to Kampf pic.twitter.com/9cfA3hkRn9— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 22, 2021
Bunting draws another penalty, and it’s a PP that fizzles until Nylander trips a guy, and it’s time for the Leafs PK to shine because the Islanders PP is also bad.
The Leafs get a little too involved in the PK offence (because it’s so easy against the Islanders) and almost do an oops. Woll makes a save, and all is well.
Marner is bringing back the drop pass. He picks it off, drops it back and he and the blue bird of joy make this happen:
What a connection. Easy goal for Marner pic.twitter.com/0eNh0Y5g40— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 22, 2021
Kaše goes to the bench, and then the locker room with something up with his hand, which is ungood.
Kase went to the locker room after this— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 22, 2021
Looks like he took a puck off the hand pic.twitter.com/w5lPSjSdHs
Kaše is back quickly, so that’s good. Maybe he’s as paranoid as the fans are.
And he goes off early after crashing the boards. The Leafs run out the clock easily, and that’s the ball game.
The Islanders aren’t very good when they have a bunch of guys in Covid protocol. Against a more talented team, the mix of Woll and the shots allowed might have been a very bad thing, but it was good enough for this team. Woll played well, and rarely looked like he didn’t belong.
And now it’s off to California!