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Recap: Maple Leafs fizzle to a 6-3 loss

Leafs had a dominant first period then farted the rest of the way

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Hey it took about 20 minutes past 7:30 to start the game, and there wasn’t even a Canadiens-esque pre-game ceremony!

PERIOD ONE

Okay... so the game started, I saw Brodie wait with the puck for about 10 seconds before shooting it into someone’s shin pads. Then I went to the bathroom and when I came back the Leafs had a 2-0 lead. What the hell?

ANYWAYS WOOOOOOOOOOOO ILYA MIKHEYEV CANNOT BE STOPPED AND HE MAKES IT 1-0 LEAFS!

WOOOOOO WILLIAM NYLANDER WITH A DISGUSTING PASS TO MITCH MARNER WHO SCORES HIS FIRST POWER PLAY GOAL SINCE HE WAS A LONDON KNIGHT! 2-0 LEAFS!

Leafs are dominating this period. They’re rolling their four lines, getting some decent chances still and not giving the Rangers much outside of the one powerplay they had.

Oh, well, guess I cursed it. Ryan Reaves was left all alone in front, and he made it 2-1.

BUT MICHAEL J BUNTING IS ON THE CASE AND CLEANING UP THE GARBAGE IN FRONT OF THE NET! 3-1 LEAFS!

First Period Thoughts

  • Shot attempts: Leafs dominated pretty much across the board, especially at even strength. They had 14 shot attempts to the Rangers’ 6.
  • Expected goals: The Leafs also had 88% of the expected goal share at evens... which is nutty. It might be their most dominant period (5v5 wise) of the year.
  • Special teams: Leafs were 1 for 2 on their powerplays, and perfect on the penalty kill. Hard to ask for much more.
  • Standouts: The third line was pretty great at even strength, generating some of their better chances and not giving up anything against. Honestly the only Leafs who look bad has been Dermott and Biega, and that’s pretty much just from the goal against that wasn’t 100% their fault. But they didn’t get the rest of the good minutes with the Matthews’ line, who was also on for the goal against.
  • Heatmap: Like for real, this was hilarious.

PERIOD TWO

You cannot stop Ryan Reaves, you can only hope to contain him. Wait, no, I meant the opposite of that what the FUCK Leafs??? 3-2 Toronto.

It’s been a lower event and closer contest in the second period. Which is a nice way of saying boring. Bunting almost set up Marner with a great cross-ice pass to the side of the net, but Shesterkin made a great save getting across with his pad.

But the Rangers are getting their chances too. They’ve closed the gap on the shots, and Campbell has had to make a few good saves. And the Rangers take the lead in shots and tie the game off a great pass to a Adam Fox who jumped in from the point. Bad failed clearing attempt by Liljegren led to a turnover, which led to the goal. 3-3 tie game.

Leafs get a powerplay late in the period, and had a glorious chance to re-take the lead before time expired, but we head to the third period tied 3-3.

Second Period Thoughts

  • Shot attempts: It started out boring and even and ended bad for the Leafs. Rangers out attempted Toronto 18-12 at even strength.
  • Expected goals: The Rangers had better quality too, controlling 60% of the expected goal share.
  • Special teams: Leafs got one and a bit more powerplays in the second to pad or re-take the lead, and had nothing to show for it. They’ve been staying out of the box but that just means they’ll likely be the ones taking the next 2-3 penalties in the third period.
  • Standouts: The Matthews’ line looked the most dangerous in the second, but there weren’t a lot of players covering themselves in glory...
  • Heatmap: look at the first period heatmap, then this one, and you can see how well the Rangers turned the table against Toronto.

PERIOD THREE

Leafs aren’t exactly starting the third period strong... Brodie narrowly stops a grade A scoring chance.

But they did get a good chance not long after thanks to Kerfoot and Willy.

The Rangers are the ones who are again getting more of the shot attempts and scoring chances, and eventually they’re the ones who capitalize. Campbell made a great save on Kreider, but not long after Strome put the Rangers ahead 4-3.

NOW the Leafs are starting to look like the “better” team, of course as the Rangers turtle to hold the lead with less than half the period to go.

It’s just been all downhill since the first period...

It looked like Matthews may have made it a one goal game again, but between a high stick and a kicking motion... that was always going to be called back.

Adam Fox rubbing salt in the wounds late with a 6-3 goal.

Final Period Thoughts

I’ll throw out the numbers. The fact is the Leafs had one of the most dominant first periods of their season, and from the start of the second period onwards were varying degrees of ordinary and bad. Hard to say if the Rangers just took them seriously after that, or if the Leafs just... got bad, gave up, ran out of gas, or some combination of the three.

Anyways, game was bad. Boo.