The Toronto Maple Leafs had another bad second period, but they scored in the first and the third to beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Wednesday night. Jack Campbell stopped 31 of 33 in the win, while Auston Matthews, TJ Brodie, and Zach Hyman scored three goals on Jake Allen on 32 shots. Brodie scored his first goal as a Leaf, while Alexander Barabanov got his first point in the NHL, assisting on Brodie’s goal.
Before the game, William Nylander was placed in NHL COVID Protocol for a possible exposure. We have all the information all in a posta at the site, linked below. Nylander was replaced with Ilya Mikheyev on the second line, while Alexander Barabanov took his spot on the fourth line. That was the only change made.
On his first shift, Auston Matthews scored his 28th goal of the season, his seventh goal in as many games. Picking up the puck from Mikheyev, swooped around, and beat Jake Allen on the wrap-around.
Corey Perry, yuck, tied the game a few minutes later after he was left wide open coming towards the net. Dermott and Bogosian were busy covering the same guy, I’m sure there was a good excuse for that.
The Habs got caught with too many men (a novel concept) and then took a second penalty while shorthanded when Hyman got slashed. Of course the Leafs didn’t capitalize on either, but they at least got a post from Muzzin and this chance that could’ve been a chance.
If this pass by Spezza gets through, Auston Matthews has two pic.twitter.com/ecdmqBgKWs— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 8, 2021
The rest of the period was rather boring, to be honest. The Leafs had the majority of the puck, but they didn’t get any meaningful chances. The biggest wave ended up being the New York Islander acquiring Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils. We have all the important details on it here:
- Shot attempts: 17-10 (63%)
- Shots on goal: 10-6
- Scoring chances: 13-2
- Expected goals: 0.63-0.15 (81%)
Looking at the scoring chance numbers alone you can tell the Leafs had complete control over the Habs’ offense. Meanwhile the Leafs had a fairly normal, potentially sub-standard period in the offensive zone. They had lots of zone time but little in terms of big chances after the Matthews goal. Once again, there was a worry that the Leafs would stay stagnant while the Habs make adjustments ahead of the second period.
The Habs made a push to start the second, but they still didn’t get any quality chances. One shot attempt from Shea Weber got blocked by Marner’s stick, which just couldn’t anymore and it spoiled a breakaway for Marner.
Marner nearly got a breakaway after blocking this shot— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 8, 2021
Has to drop his stick and does the soccer kick back pic.twitter.com/RtiO7OXcsd
This game continued to morph into a defensive showdown after quick goals to start the game. The biggest highlight was this pass interference from TJ Brodie.
This almost-chance was pretty cool, though on the close-up, Marner was closer to deflecting it in towards the net rather than getting it to Hyman.
Hyman-Matthews-Marner is unreal— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 8, 2021
the fact that this almost worked pic.twitter.com/55Ulyym4sx
Matthews got called for roughing Corey Perry (which should be legal), ending a pretty disappointing period.
- Shot attempts: 11-31 (26%)
- Shots on goal: 4-17
- Scoring chances: 4-14
- Expected goals: 0.33-0.75 (31%)
I’m saying this honestly, the Habs can get zone time and shot attempts when they want, but they honestly lack dynamism in the offensive zone. They can putter around and use volume, but in the second half of the period when the Leafs had some fun with the puck, they really had fun with the puck. Players moving in and out, chances coming pretty constantly. Habs mostly got point shots after an initial chance off a faceoff or something.
Basically, I can see why they’re a top shots team, but middling in the standings.
Brodie scores his first! Despite another terrible second period, the Leafs have always been good in the third period. They were able to keep themselves within reach of a lead in the second, and got an early goal in the third. Not only did Brodie get his first as a Leaf, Alexander Barabanov got the lone assist on the goal, his first point in the NHL, 12 games into his career.
Tavares had another look later in the period. Galchenyuk was incredibly effective in all areas of the offensive zone in this game. He worked hard, he made a couple really nice passing plays to open Tavares and Mikheyev, and he’s been quick and hard to knock off. Very much like a mini-Nylander.
The first line gets it done again with Hyman burying an insurance goal for the Leafs off the rush. Matthews and Marner combined for a shot on the left side, Hyman was abandoned by the defense and allowed to stash the puck in the back of the net.
Matthews gets this going all the way at the other end of the ice pic.twitter.com/oHueDAuVNV— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 8, 2021
Dermott then tripped Perry defending an odd-man rush. Again, totally allowed, not a problem at all.
Leafs playing keep-away on the penalty kill pic.twitter.com/1q5i0Y2q8p— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) April 8, 2021
The Leafs closed out the next portion of the game without turtling, they kept the pressure on in the offensive zone, especially the Matthews line. The Leafs were able to force the Habs to keep dumping the puck in, which meant they weren’t able to pull Allen for the extra attacker.
With three minutes left, the Habs pulled the goalie down two. Perry slapped the puck out of Campbell’s glove and pushed it in the net.
Full game 5v5 stats:
- Shot attempts: 53-54 (50%)
- Shots on goal: 29-29
- Scoring chances: 35-24
- Expected goals: 2.6-1.46 (64%)