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Maple Leafs Game Recap: Three Leafs score their first of the season in 4-2 win

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The Leafs weren’t great but they pulled off a win because the Habs were surprisingly worse.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens: it’s a Clash of the Titans, and not the cheesy 1980’s movie, or the even worse 2010 one, but the type with the top two teams in the NHL.

This is the first time I have recapped a game since March 5th 2020, which was the abysmally boring Leafs @ Kings game where zero goals were scored and it went to a very long shootout where the Kings eventually won the game, 1-0.

Hopefully this one is more exciting. At least it isn’t going to continue until 1:00 a.m. ET.

GO LEAFS GO!

Pre-Game

Fulemin says:

They cooled off a little lately, but the Canadiens were shooting the lights out for a while there, led by Tyler Toffoli’s relentless goal-scoring vendetta against the Vancouver Canucks. Hell hath no fury like a good Corsi winger scorned.

This is only the second of ten games they will play against each other this season. Strap yourselves in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride as this rivalry heats up.

I’m doing a timestamp recap tonight, so here are my thoughts in real time.

First Period

Anderson vs. Price this could/will be a match in the second round of the playoffs!

NHL: FEB 10 Maple Leafs at Canadiens Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

[19:25] Less than one minute in to the game and the Matthews line is working over the Habs with the first big scoring chance of the game.

[18:44] WHELP. So much for that. The Habs get the first goal 76 second into the game. Josh Anderson gets the goal.

[18:15] The Kerfoot line is out and the Habs are very physical on them to a point they get nothing accomplished. I hope they can do better as the game progresses.

[17:14] The Leafs are knocked back on their heels here. They need to focus and get it together quickly or the game is really going to go off the rails.

[16:45] Justin Holl is picking a fight in front of Andersen while Mikheyev blasts off into the Habs zone. Nothing comes of Mikheyev’s attack, yet again.

Comments from the peanut gallery:
[15:05] Arvind: Perry just did a spinorama at approximately 1.4 miles per hour. Did it get by Rielly anyways? Of course.

[12:05] Katya: Zach Bogosian was briefly the only competent player on the ice.

[11:16] Omar: Does Kerfoot think he’s Connor fricken McDavid? Trying to puck handle through 3 Habs in the o-zone.

[11:05] Brigstew: I see we’re all in a good mood about this game.
Katya: I would rather watch Frederik Gauthier with the puck in the o-zone than Mikheyev.
Species: Tell us how you really feel, Katya!

[9:23] Engvall takes the first penalty of the game. It’s fortunately only 2 minutes as the Habs player desperately tried to rip out his tooth to make it four but can’t get it to budge.
The Leafs first PK unit is: 11-34-3-8; Matthews is actually out only at the faceoff and then does the FOGO for Marner to come on.
Second PK unit is: 15-22-78-65

The Leafs kill off the penalty successfully.

[6:41] Tavares makes a bad turnover but gets lucky as the Habs are on the way off to change and decide not to pursue it. That was a really bad play by Tavares though. I’m not sure what’s happening but he looks terrible.

[5:42] Spezza finally gets the Leafs second good chance of the game but he shoots too late as he strafes Price and it winds up hitting the side of the net instead of going in.

[4:52] Matthews draws a penalty off Shea Weber which gives the Leafs a PP.

First PP unit: 11-16-34-44-61
Second PP unit: 91-16-88-65-78

No goal on the power play and the Habs had the puck in the Leafs zone for a big part of the last 60 seconds.

[1:45] Engvall has it in the Habs zone and just gives the puck away. The Leafs recover it and the line get more chances with a tantalizing possibility for Petan and the Boyd to get a shot on Price.

The Leafs get another power play. Marner gets one shot off on Price, but he deflects it away.

The period ends with more time on the power play to come in the second.

Second Period

[19:37] The power play continues and Tavares finally gets a great scoring chance, but credit to Hyman and Marner behind the net to set him up.

[17:58] Dermott doing great work to keep the puck inside the attacking zone despite none of the other Leafs skaters attempting to receive it from him.

[17:25] They’re talking about Price as though he’s a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee, which, uh, no. And, frankly, he could be a not-ever-inductee.

[15:17] Tavares is injured? Tavares is injured.

[11:40] Tavares is out and Keefe has shuffled Boyd into his place on the fly.

[10:58] Bogosian takes a penalty and the Leafs are on the PK again.

[10:10] Marner and Matthews set up a legitimate short handed chance. It doesn’t work, but the more time the Leafs spend with the puck shooting at Price while they are on a penalty kill the better. And the Leafs successfully kill it off.

[8:20] The Matthews-Nylander-Rielly group has a great series of chances but still can’t get one in the net.

[6:30] Someone told Justin Holl that Tyler Toffoli was Connor McDavid in disguise.

[6:13] Tavares is back on the bench after clearing concussion protocol.

[5:00] I missed 30 seconds of the game because the NHL App froze an I had to restart it. I assume nothing interesting happened.

[4:42] I got back on just in time to see Travis Dermott score! He is also very excited about scoring that game tying goal. “WHOOOOO”

Freddie is good, by the way.

[Last minute] Both sides look worn out and as though they are playing out the period with messy hockey to get back in the locker room to rest up and settle it in the third.

Comments from the peanut gallery:

Katya: It’s a bit like the Habs are trying to be the Sens vs. the Leafs, and they aren’t good enough at it to pull it off. I know that sounds absurd, and yet....

Arvind: the huge chunk of xG in the first for Montreal was that Freddie boner, and it was just a jam play on a prone Freddie

Katya: When the Habs shoot it’s from the red carpet, though.

Third Period

[20:00] Surprise! The third period starts 4-on-4 because at the very end of the second period Zach Hyman drew a tripping penalty, but the ref also dinged him for an embellishment minor.

[18:50] Josh Anderson is mouthy. This could develop into a good rivalry.

[18:10] Leafs goal by Justin Holl! And, wow, Price should have had this one. His glove hand doesn’t even start to go up until the puck is already in the net.

[17:55] ANOTHER GOAL! Mikheyev finally gets one and he’s so happy!

[15:00] What is going on now, Fulemin, is Jimmy Vesey and the Kerfoot line getting a good scoring chance.

[12:45] Claude Julien has activated the line blender, desperate to get some offence going.

[6:00] We’re counting down the minutes here, and please don’t screw this up with some dumb penalty or something, Leafs!

[3:45] A bad turnover leads to some panic and a Habs scoring chance. Freddie bails out the Leafs, but they get another chance and it goes in. The end of this game won’t be easy.

[1:54] Claude Julien pulls Price for the extra attacker and the Leafs promptly get an empty net goal. You will never guess which Leaf got it!

Final Thoughts

Katya: Why did we win that game?

Wow! So, yes, the Leafs won, and it was fun, and three of the goals came from two defenceman and one forward who scored their first of the season, which is at 14 games now. The heavy hitters didn’t get anything on the board in the “G” column tonight. We’ll definitely have more to say about what happened in this weird game in the next two days.

The Leafs next game is against the Canadiens again on Saturday, but the Canadiens will play one game in between against the Oilers.

This has been your Species recap. Enjoy the rest of your evening!