It’s the final game of the regular season for the Toronto Maple Leafs! Yet still six days until the playoffs start. Tonight they end the regular season in style with a game... in Winnipeg? Starting at 8:00 p.m.? Whew, this season has been weird.
I signed up for this recap specifically because it’s the final game of the season and really all that we care about now is the playoffs, so that means I can half-ass this but still get full credit!
Let’s get to it.
Mitch Marner is out resting for this game and the Leafs swapped in Adam Brooks, directly where Marner was in the lineup. Brooks is from Winnipeg, so of course they give him a top line job for fun in this game, it’s only too bad his family can’t actually be at the game to see him play with Auston Matthews.
Oh, we killed Paul Statsny in only the first minute of the game. So much for that gentleman’s agreement, Paul Maurice.
Stastny went to the dressing room after this hit along the boards by Holl pic.twitter.com/molIWkXBow— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 15, 2021
Three minutes into the game and the Jets have the first bout of scoring chances, but all they really do is pass the pack through the blue paint, and then make shots that go wide of Campbell before he eventually stop play on one.
Leafs 1 - Jets 0
Engvall scores the first goal of the game on a breakaway about five seconds after he loses a faceoff that Jordie Benn wastes on a worthless shot.
Engvall blows past Dubois and beats Hellebuyck pic.twitter.com/bY6S6SPttg— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 15, 2021
Spezza follows up with another scoring chance where his shot misses, but then bounces back from the glass behind the net and trickles through Hellybyuck’s legs who doesn’t see it. He looks a bit rattled as he recovers.
Paul Statsny comes back to the game, now with 11:17 left in the first period. It’s just in time for the Leafs to take a penalty when Morgan Rielly is holding.
The Leafs do a pretty good job keeping the Jets from having a shot in close, or from getting a man in front of the net. Eventually Pink gets off the only clean shot for the Jets which Campbell stops easily.
Mikheyev gets off a shot that goes off the crossbar and it looks like Helleybuyck doesn’t even know that it happened. He looks rattled here.
Mitch Marner is excited about the back half of this period as I am.
Suddenly right as I write that, the Jets perk up here in the last four minutes of the period and keep Campbell busy.
Save after save— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 15, 2021
Campbell's stopping them pic.twitter.com/Z3shPBA9J2
Leafs 1 - Jets 1
The Jets quickly tie up the game after a flub by Rielly trying to get the puck cleared out from behind the Leafs net.
Appleton ties it— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 15, 2021
Rough turnover by Rielly pic.twitter.com/E4EQhW724X
Leafs 2 - Jets 1
And the Leafs get it right back. Mikheyev finally gets his goal after 13 games of so many chances that missed.
Meanwhile, Sheldon Keefe is making a list. I wonder what it’s about? There’s a poll at the end for you to vote on!
Let’s look at the heat map here half way into the game. Whew the Leafs need to watch those shots coming in tight in front of the net.
Leafs 2 - Jets 2
And as I paste that image into this post, guess from where Kyle Connor scores for the Jets?
The Leafs get a powerplay opportunity that the Jets generally cover off well, but it’s not hard. The Leafs move around a little bit, but pass the puck much more over and over again. They simply can’t get anything good going and in the dying seconds finally resort to shots by Muzzin really far out and through traffic simply to get something going, but it doesn’t work.
Fortunately, they get another chance on a new power play, though it’s split over the intermission into the next period. Once again, the Leafs are not getting anything going here and even Ray Ferraro sounds frustrated to the point of yelling “SHOOT IT!”
This right here is why the power play is bad— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 15, 2021
Shoot that! pic.twitter.com/Vml2KZtkeZ
Here's another example— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 15, 2021
Tavares does a quick drop pass to the point, shoot that! pic.twitter.com/TJd6lho5Tt
The Leafs start this period on the power play but the Jets kill it off.
Matthews really wants to get that 200th point tonight, but it might not happen.
Matthews' shot creates a rebound for Galchenyuk but Hellebuyck makes the save pic.twitter.com/rtMtbvgj0U— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) May 15, 2021
Leafs 2 - Jets 3
“Don’t let it end this way, Auston”
So there’s now 10 minutes left in the game and I’m having to remind myself that I am supposed to be recapping this as it’s getting really boring watching them pretend they care about the dying minutes of the regular season. It’s dull to the point I occasionally get caught up in the show that’s on my TV in the background. I think it’s called Blue Bloods. I honestly have never seen or heard of it before, though apparently it’s been on for 11 years. For some reason I found this episode intriguing. I gather the series is about a family in New York City, most of whom are cops, though the mother(?) is a prosecutor. In this episode...
Oh, right. The game.
Uh... Good job here Fliggy.
Leafs 2 - Jets 4
I’m just gonna wrap this up fast. Keefe pulls Campbell for the 6-on-5 and the Jets score on the empty net a few seconds later.
The End of the Beginning
So that’s it! As the Leafs file off the ice to change for the drive back to Grand Forks to return their rental cars and then fly back to Toronto, we now all play the waiting game. There’s six days off until they start the first round in Toronto next Thursday, though we’ll have some playoff action from the other divisions starting as early as tomorrow. I’ll be here and maybe we’ll have a PPP After Dark special to talk about the other first round games while we are waiting, because the waiting game sucks!
What was Keefe’s list about?
This poll is closed
Reasons he wished Marner was playing.
Items he needs to buy to make JvR’s Power Play Penne this weekend.
Reasons he’d rather be watching Blue Bloods right now.