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Recap: Leafs lay a green egg vs Ottawa

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There was no luck but bad in this game, and last-minute heroics were not enough.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Ottawa Senators Photo by Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

So, let me get this straight. I have to recap a SEGABABA in Ottawa where they’re wearing those St. Pat’s green outfits on a Sunday and Michael O’Hutchinson is in net?

Sounds great.

Oh, and late breaking news had Matt Murray leaving warmup and Joey Daccord is starting the game. Daccord is an AHL goalie who has played a very few NHL games, and hasn’t looked very good most of the time. His backup is Kevin Mandolese, a goalie out of the Q who only has one AHL game to his name.

First Period

Oh, the Sens have silly suits on too. Actually, their reverse retro outfits aren’t bad.

And the Leafs bowl the goalie when William O’Nylander is tripped up. Luckily Daccord is okay.

Sens get a good scoring chance because it’s just not difficult to get to the net front against the Leafs.

Leafs got a chance to foam around the Sens net like the head on a green beer, which is an abomination. But no shots ensue because the Leafs might be green, but they’re still Leafs.

Sens follow up with a lengthy session of point shots while the Leafs dither around trying to get the puck. The Sens could score if they... okay, have the puck handed to them. Neat! Travis Boyd gives them a nice present.

1-0 Senators

And then this happened:

2-0 Senators

Sure, sure, this is fine. No dogs are in burning houses, but Frederik Andersen is in the net. And now, I’m too mad to make the Irish jokes. I’m sure you’re upset.

Zach Bogosian gets in some kind of pointless scrum with some guy on the Sens, and who do I see about my recapping assignments around here, anyway?

This bit of manly manliness nets the Sens a power play, which they are bad at, so the game doesn’t actually get worse.

Daccord makes a nice grab out of the air, not that the Leafs have been making him work.

Oh, thank you, Zach Hyman (pay the man):

God help me, I’m enjoying Garry Galley tonight, noting that Matthews makes this goal happen. He takes the Hyman role which is interesting.

2-1 Senators

Matthews finishing a check with the biggest part of his torso (I’ll let you imagine). He really is Hyman tonight.

Brady Tkachuk lands near Andersen, not quite tackling him, proving he’s 15% less horrible than his brother.

Mitch Marner takes a slashing call to let the Sens end the first on the power play.

Freddie does a stop flop and save on a flurry from the Sens, and that’s it for this green beer of a period.

Thoughts

Not much to say, the Leafs were terrible for most of that period, so I want to talk about Hyman’s goal and the concept of expected goals using Evolving Hockey’s model. Overall the Sens lead the Leafs in all-situations 1.09 to .90 xG, and would be much worse if the Sens didn’t shoot junk a lot of the time.

Hyman’s goal shot is the largest chunk of the Leafs xG, so this time reality reflects the percentages. His shot is measured at a value of 35% of one expected goal. That’s huge on a single shot, and it’s because of the location of the shot which is right in the goalie’s face. These are the shots Hyman takes, and they are much easier to convert to goals than junk shot from the circles. He shoots only those high percentage shots, and the rest of the time he passes the puck to someone with more skill if he’s in a bad position.

The end result of his fairly unique style of play is a shooting % in the traditional sense that will average out to a high number. This does not make him a good shooter! This makes him a very, very smart player who makes good choices under pressure at speeds most NHL lines don’t play at. Results can’t tell you is a player is skilled at one thing or another if you don’t understand the full context of how they play, where they shoot from and what choices they routinely make. And you can’t teach someone to do what Hyman does if they can’t think the game the way he does. All the shooting drills in the world can’t make you think faster.

Second Period

A very Ilya Mikheyev moment as he dekes himself out of his own jock.

Leafs have at least five sharp-angle shots that have just missed. They have to be due one.

Hyman does a bad thing.

The Senators get another chance on the power play, and this one looks good from the start. They get in position, move the puck, make Andersen make saves, and then this happens:

3-1 Ottawa

Morgan Rielly does the dumbest of dumb things and then:

4-1 Ottawa as Drake Batherson gets his second in seconds

The Leafs get their first power play and have a chance at a comeback. Nope, two shots, nothing to show for it.

The lineblender is out, and that... well, it usually gets used in dire circumstances, so of course it doesn’t work often.

Brodie gives the puck up to Batherson, who has a chance for the hatty, but he shoots a terrible one wide.

Andersen has to make a couple of sharp saves as the Leafs are chasing the play for the bulk of the last few minutes.

Thoughts

Leafs added a lot of junk point shots in that period, and didn’t get rebounds or tips. The Sens hit the net-front hard, and they now lead 2.99 to 2.21

There’s just no way to say this other than to say the Leafs are being comprehensively outplayed in this game. The Sens are skating faster, are tougher on the puck, driving the net, and not leaving their goalie to clean up the entire mess.

So far, Daccord has been okay, and that’s all he’s needed to be since he’s made only two or three difficult saves.

Third Period

Leafs open with the most dangerous period of play all game.

The fourth line has been horrible, and Vesey likely doesn’t deserve that promotion, but what I’d do is put Hyman with Tavares and Nylander, and get the only three forwards getting good results on one line. See what happens.

The way the Leafs are playing now, if this game was seven periods long, they might win it.

The above lines are accomplished by double shifting the 40-year-old, as you do.

Rielly sets up Mikheyev to make this something like a game with 10 minutes left. Wait the Senators are challenging this because...

Goal is called back.

Leafs are playing a classic score-effects second half of the game — more shots, less quality, losing by the time you get to Expected Goals. Hard to catch up that way.

Leafs do the super early goalie pull, which is cute with six minutes to go and a three-goal deficit. At least they get a flurry around the net.

Goal! Hyman with another.

4-2 Senators

That move, or lack of, by Engvall to hang out in the crease looms big now.

Sens miss the empty net, so this isn’t quite over yet.

Oh, hi, it’s William Nylander raising our hopes:

4-3 Senators

I’ve already written the headline, but I’m willing to change it...

Marner plays goal at the end, but while they are a very good six-on-five team, that can’t make up for the entire weight of the game that came before it.

Thoughts

The Leafs don’t play for four days. Thank goodness.

Meanwhile in the AHL, Barabanov and Galchenyuk along with Petan are lighting things up. The Leafs need to sort out their goalies first, but something has to give on this roster before they return to play.