This is the first of two against the Oilers. Monday marks the last time the Leafs play them until a potential playoff meeting, so let’s make this count. I want to see something approaching offensive pace, and something a little more mindful of the shots allowed than the last game where Ottawa gradually won the right to shoot from right in front of Jack Campbell.
Nice fast start, and judging by the use of Morgan Rielly and TJ Brodie with the fourth line of Alex Galchenyuk, Jason Spezza and Alex Kerfoot, that’s supposed to be a stealth scoring line. We’ll see how that works.
Second time that fourth line gets the Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl pair. They’re definitely a top-six line that just plays less, and that should put the Tavares line and the HEM line in competition to be the third line again.
Zach Hyman leads his line in an extended cycle tight around the Oilers’ net.
Oilers flub a two-on-one, which was their best scoring chance so far. Arena fake sound is also really loud and stupid, just had to mention that.
Jeez, that was nice. A feed from Galchenyuk to Spezza:
What a pass by Galchenyuk to find Spezza for the one-timer pic.twitter.com/6ji2vWb3lZ— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 27, 2021
Mitch Marner gets a shot off after some good Joe Thornton and Auston Matthews play:
Travis Dermott gets a shot off, and that’s the second time I’ve noticed him positively in the offensive zone. If he wants to have an upturn in his play, I’m fine with that.
Tavares with a weak shot from out in the “third forward high” zone that annoys me no end 75% of the time. Naturally nothing comes of that.
HEM line can’t capitalize on Mike Smith going for a long skate, unfortunately.
Engvall almost had the funniest Leafs goal of the season pic.twitter.com/Q9sS5njzOA— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 27, 2021
Wayne Simmonds cannot at all carry the puck up the neutral zone. Oilers push him to the boards too easily.
And that’s a scoreless first period.
Leafs the better team in a fast-paced period. They made things happened, had good and easy flow going on all four lines, generated more shots of all types, and none of that matters. The game starts over in 15 minutes.
Leafs open the second with a similar level of puck domination at first.
Simmonds, standing around on the right point, kills a Tavares line offensive cycle dead with a Barrie-esque shot. I like him a lot, a huge amount, but I have not enjoyed his play the last two games in the top six. The broadcast, who favour “using your points” think it was neato, though.
Engvall out with Matthews gets a blooper no one seems to see at first. I didn’t. The call on the ice was good goal, now it’s corrected to a goal put in by the hand, which is not true. So we wait.
PIERRE ENGVALL— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 28, 2021
Off Mike Smith's head! pic.twitter.com/hk28cpwaN5
Refs review it again, quickly I should add, as they’ve done two games in a row now, and it’s a good goal. This is how ref calls in real time, their consultation, and then review should happen.
Oops, Engvall gives the puck away in front of Campbell immediately, and Jack has it, luckily for all.
Campbell bails out Engvall as he's stripped in front pic.twitter.com/mqRsJHSXLR— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 28, 2021
Another Spezza-Galchenyuk move that does not go in. Unfortunately the play back the other way does, as a puck sails right by Campbell. Connor McDavid makes things happen.
Good chance for Galchenyuk right before the goal against pic.twitter.com/g7idZizuXu— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 28, 2021
Leafs take the first penalty as Engvall goes off for hooking on McDavid. Gosh, Engvall has been busy this period. Is he the forward who should have most of the mentions?
Sometimes the Oilers power play looks nothing like one that rivals the Leafs own. This is one of those times.
Hitting a post is a miss, and Matthews misses on most of his shots.
Yup, there it is. The Oilers get a rush against when Holl bobbles the puck and McDavid pounces. All Leon Draisaitl has to do is whatever McDavid decides he should do. Puck dribbles in past Campbell as he flings himself at it in desperation. No one had the pass taken care of for him.
McDavid to Draisaitl with a no-look pass.— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 28, 2021
I'm not even mad. pic.twitter.com/KOO8hdaX0l
Nylander draws the Peel call, so to the power play we go. We get a hilariously bad Marner one-timer, and a very good Matthews one, so his wrist must be feeling good. Good power play with lots of shots, and they keep it going into the final few minutes.
Oh goody. This game is now officially irritating. Draisaitl makes a slick, slick move to Tyson Barrie rolling up behind the play unnoticed, and that’s an easy goal.
Holl is not covering himself in glory in this game, particularly on the second Oilers goal. Mike Smith is. The Leafs conceded the field in all ways, and the Oilers screamed back to dominate in shots of all sorts from all locations.
I eagerly await the discussion about how the save % in this game doesn’t really mean anything.
Zach Hyman is a top six player suddenly. I’m shocked. Alex Galchenyuk has also been torn away from Jason Spezza and put on the Tavares line.
Leafs get a power play as Marner draws a penalty.
Mike Smith is here to make us all annoyed, though. No wait, we already are.
Another one-timer for Matthews stopped pic.twitter.com/526qlLVA70— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 28, 2021
Another good power play that comes up empty. Sometimes, that’s how it goes. Goals go in against you but not for you.
Smith with a ten-bell save. He’s almost Thornton’s age, in case we’ve forgotten.
Smith robs Mitch Marner— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 28, 2021
Backhand saucer by Hyman pic.twitter.com/6qAZK6B9f1
I prefer bad. anger-management issues Smith, myself.
The only point of this game now, is to enjoy the sensible lines, so I’ll do that.
Speaking of, look at this goal:
JOHN TAVARES— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 28, 2021
WHAT A PASS BY GALCHENYUK pic.twitter.com/U3BtxCiXHk
Desperation Leafs open the game up and do things like use stretch passes and rush chances.
Ahem. Clears throat. Gooooooooooooooooooooooooal
Would Mr. Nylander please take a bow, please? (Rewriting the headline, talk amongst yourselves.)
The goalies are getting a workout, because neither team wants this to end in a tie. Nice change. The Leafs take a timeout with a minute to go, but to OT we go.
Mitch Marner defends a two-on-one like he’s a damn defenceman.
Mo to Auston to JT! Like it should be. Leafs win!!!!!
Adendum: It seems like JT only pretended to score it, and it’s Matthews’ goal.
Two games back from injury, Jack Campbell has not been the best goalie on the ice in either game. Both went to overtime and the Leafs won them both, and that’s exactly how hockey works.
The Leafs are better when their best players aren’t on the fourth line. Auditions should be over. Either trade or don’t, but play the best players the most.