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Leafs need overtime and goals from unlikely heroes to beat Senators

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And someone tell Pierre Dorion he has a mess to clean up.

NHL: MAR 25 Maple Leafs at Senators
OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 25: Toronto Maple Leafs Goalie Jack Campbell (36) holds on to the puck during second period National Hockey League action between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators on March 25, 2021, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in the dying seconds of overtime on a goal from Justin Holl set up by Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. The Leafs got goals from Ilya Mikheyev and Jason Spezza, while the rest of the offense finds themselves in a massive shooting slump. They’ve been getting chances, but the goals just somehow won’t go in. The Sens should’ve had zero goals in this game, but they were gifted two by Campbell and got a point against the Leafs. Campbell stopped 29 of 31 in the win, the Leafs threw 41 shots on debut goalie Anton Forsberg in the eventual win.

First Period

The first five minutes of the game showed me pretty clearly that Hyman is wasted playing on the fourth line with Engvall and Mikheyev. They don’t do enough for him to get scoring chances. Everything feels half-baked and incomplete. Hyman needs playmakers and dynamic forwards to make him useful. And on the flip side, the top six could really use his puck-winning ability and secondary finishing. It all feels backwards.

Following a Zaitsev giveaway, Matthews nearly beat Forsberg but was hooked on his attempt. The Leafs went to the power play with Matthews, Marner, Simmonds, Thornton, and Rielly. Matthews got a half chance at the side of the net, but the unit really didn’t look in sync at the top of the zone. The second unit came on and they couldn’t get a shot off in their half-minute or so in the zone. Nylander looked off a shot he probably should’ve taken.

After the power play, the Sens got away with too many men on the ice. They had six guys for a full shift. No one on either side pointed it out.

After missing that call, the Sens got a power play with Tavares off for interference. The Leafs did a good job of keeping the puck out of the defensive zone. They didn’t get a shot or chance. Engvall and Mikheyev got a two-on-one but naturally didn’t get a shot off.

Connor Brown got called for a penalty. I don’t know if that’s a make-up call or not or what is going on anymore. Every game is a psychological analysis of the referee. And then Matthews got a penalty after getting a chance. It must’ve been an even-up call since both teams don’t have a Matthews and that’s just not fair.

Forgive me, I just need to get this out of my system. It’s not like the Leafs were exciting in the first period.

Mikheyev got another breakaway, but lost control of the puck, but he drew a penalty this time! Nothing happened on the power play.

0-1

Oh wait, something did happen, the Sens scored. Gaffe from Campbell behind the net and Connor Brown knocked in an easy shorthanded goal.

Tavares went to go talk to his goalie after the goal.

After One

5v5 stats:

  • Shot attempts: 11-3 (79%)
  • Shots on goal: 8-2
  • Scoring Chances: 8-1
  • Expected goals: 0.75-0.11 (87%)

Thoughts:

I can’t say this period provided any measure of confidence in the Leafs. They’ve had lots of time to practice, they’ve chosen to not make any lineup changes, and this is the result. The power play stunk, even with three chances. The lines all feel incomplete; they can all do things but not put it all together for goals. Jack Campbell gave up the only goal of the period after the Sens showed nothing offensively.

Second Period

After the first period where Campbell didn’t have to actually make any saves, the LEafs started forcing him to make saves. The Leafs technically had the upper hand to start the game, but they threw it away and the Sens started to come on.

Furthering the pain, Matthews got robbed by Forsberg after a brilliant pass from Rielly.

1-1

Hilariously enough, Mikheyev scored off a rush from Hyman, but not in the conventional way. Hyman’s shot pinged off the post and bounced off Mikheyev’s shoulder and in. The ref initially called the goal off for some reason, but after review, it was obvious Mikheyev didn’t move his shoulder to direct it in or knock it down with a high stick. He’s got no hands but he’s got a pair of shoulders!

Rielly got called for tripping Tkachuk shortly after and the Sens got a couple chances on their power play, but Campbell made a great save to keep the game tied.

After Two

5v5 stats:

  • Shot attempts: 28-18 (61%)
  • Shots on goal: 16-14
  • Scoring Chances: 15-9
  • Expected goals: 1.55-0.78 (67%)

Thoughts:

It was a much more eventful period than the first with the Sens coming on offensively, but the opening of the game allowed the Leafs to improve their offense at an even higher rate I said on Twitter that a river-boat race between the Leafs and Sens is exactly what the Leafs want to do. It definitely looked like it was working to the Leafs advantage.

Galchenyuk was looking dangerous in the second with chances coming his way. His centreman Tavares led the Leafs through two with four scoring chances on five shots. They move as a group really well and Galch has become a really good throwing partner with Nylander. Both are very good at moving, passing, moving and getting into open space. Tavares has been getting so many chances, it’s bound to go in for him eventually ala Matthews.

Third Period

Every shift I wonder why Hyman isn’t playing with Matthews. The guy’s hot, he can make something happen on that line.

Dermott gave the puck away to Dadonov for a breakaway. His play here and on a turnover in the defensive zone after missing a pass from Nylander started and ended a pretty awful shift.

Simmonds got slew-footed to no call. He then called the refs horsesh*t. In a conversation later, the ref covered his mic when talking to Simmonds. Why does this loudly mimic cops turning off their body cams. Gee.

2-1

Spezza against his former team! The old man launched a slapshot off the crossbar and into the back of the net against the team he spent over a decade with.

2-2

Campbell gave up a second awful goal, tying the game with less than seven minutes to go in the game.

In the final minutes, the Leafs put some pressure on offensively, but it wasn’t enough to make it look like the Leafs were going to win it in overtime. Kerfoot tipped a point shot that nearly went in, but Forsberg made a reflex save to keep the game tied.

Regulation 5v5 stats:

  • Shot attempts: 57-38 (60%)
  • Shots on goal: 34-24
  • Scoring Chances: 32-19
  • Expected goals: 2.09-1.47 (68%)

Thoughts:

The Leafs dominated the period in terms of shots. It was over 10 minutes into the period until the Sens got their first shot. Unfortunately it didn’t take many more shots for them to tie the game.

Overtime

Matthews, Marner, and Rielly started the overtime and had a good shift in the offensive zone with a good chance in front of the net. After Nylander and Tavares got a shift, Kerfoot and Galchenyuk got on the ice. Kerfoot dangled his way through right into the blue ice but somehow couldn’t bury the chance. Nylander and Tavares had another chance and #88 had a shot on his backhand in the slot but Forsberg stopped him.

The overtime in general was very sloppy. Players were struggling to get their first chances to stick and had to scramble to get secondary chances. The Leafs were completely in charge the whole five minutes.

3-2

Justin Holl wins it! Matthews made an incredible defensive play as the Sens thought they had a 3-on-1, leading to Holl getting a wide open chance that he buried.

Memes Of The Game

Men are too emotional for sports! Someone’s gotta clean that mess and you know the smell is just going to linger.

Kyle, classy as always.