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Recap: Michael Bunting is a hometown hero

Scarborough was the star of the day today.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It was Hockey Day in Canada, so of course Sportsnet did not put the Toronto Maple Leafs on the main Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. Look, I admit the Montréal Canadiens are popular, but I’m fairly comfortable saying the Detroit Red Wings are more popular than the Edmonton Oilers nationwide, so way to whiff on this broadcast Sportsnet.

Eep. Detroit scored in the first minute of the game, with Dylan Larkin skating around the Leafs and putting on between Petr Mrázek’s legs.

The Maple Leafs continue to play defense like this:

The Maple Leafs almost score their first of the game, Ondřej Kaše shoots from the side of the net, beats Alex Nedeljkovic glove side but the puck gets redirected by Ned,, Michael Bunting gets it, but Ned makes the save, Morgan Rielly tries to keep it in but Dylan Larkin gets it out of the zone. Phew. What a frantic couple seconds.

As the first period moves on it doesn’t get any better for Toronto. Weird pass choices, easily lost possession, and at the mid-point the Red Wings are out shooting the Leafs 10-4.

Ilya Mikheyev tries to lightly nudge the puck into the net, but as someone who watched Nedeljkovic up close for years, that won’t work. It doesn’t. It was sad. Since the Larkin goal, Mrázek is making one save every minute, the Leafs keeping him busy by letting the Red Wings walk into the zone, helping him get back into a groove after being away for so long.

In a brief show of offense, Morgan Rielly shoots from the boards, deflects the puck off Engvall, it bounces off and over Ned’s pad and into the net to tie the game at ones.

The Leafs try to score again, but Ilya Mikheyev gets in the way, takes a puck to the unpadded part of the arm and stomps off to the bench to be mad.

The first period ends tied up, but it was mostly the Red Wings for the first 15 minutes until the Leafs woke up a bit.

Here are some prospect GIF’s for intermission:

Matthew Knies got the assist here:

The second period begins with Mikheyev on the bench, so a good sign he isn't seriously injured. What isn’t good, is the Red Wings scoring right away as the period begins, this time Vladimir Namestnikov goes five hole to make it 2-1 Detroit.

After the Leafs get the Red Wings out of their zone, the Leafs giveaway the puck in the neutral zone and Tyler Bertuzzi saktes right in and banks a shot off the corner and into the net to make it 3-1.

The Maple Leafs get down the ice, and try to score, but Ondřej Kaše tips over and can’t get a shot. The Red Wings gain control and toy with the Leafs in their end, passing unimpeded like it’s a five on three power play.

The Red Wings get the puck in, the Leafs (barely) get the puck out, the Red Wings get the puck in, and shoot it all about. You do the hokey-pokey and fall down on the ice, that’s what Leafs hockey is all about!

“Here comes Matthews!”

Nothing happened.

Some dude gets called for tripping William Nylander, and the Leafs get the first power play of the game. So right away the Red Wings get possession. They didn’t score, but man the Leafs barely tried to score with the man advantage.

They do, somehow, score with a Michael Bunting shot. Bunting is on the boards at the blue line, but takes the chance and beats Ned. Huh. 3-2 Detroit.

The Maple Leafs continue to over pass, as Bunting sets Morgan Rielly up, but he passes cross-crease to Auston Matthews who loses the puck in his feet, and the chance to tie the game.

The Maple Leafs get called for too many men, giving the Red Wings their first power play of the game.

The Red Wings give up a two on one to Nylander and Marner, Marner doesn’t take the obvious pass play and actually shoots, but hits Ned’s blocker. The Red Wings come back, and score their fourth of the game. with Robbi Fabbri sending a no look pass to Dylan Larkin. 4-2 Detroit.

The Maple Leafs are trying now, at time, but they’re overall a lot sloppier than Detroit. This happens though:

The period ends with the Leafs letting their frustrations taking over.

Both teams received penalties for this scrum, so the third period starts with some 4 on 4 action played almost entirely in the Leafs zone, surprise surprise. Actually surprising, the Red Wings didn’t score in the first minute of this period.

Marner is trying hard to keep his point streak alive.

The Leafs keep up some pressure and come within one goal when Michael Bunting knocks in a rebound from an Auston Matthews shot for his second of the game.

4-3 Detroit.

This motivates the Maple Leafs who work hard to get Michael Bunting his first hat trick as a Maple Leaf, and they do!

Hockey Day is in Scarborough today, and Bunting celebrates his hometown in style.

The Maple Leafs woke up with less than ten minutes left in this game, and are playing all out for the win. Maybe they learned something about coming back from a 3-1 deficit in all those losses?

They keep pushing and Rasmus Sandin scores his first goal in 60 games to put the Leafs ahead for the first time this game.

5-4 Maple Leafs!

The Red Wings think they scored with the goalie pulled, but the puck bounced off the crossbar. When the play is called dead, the Red Wings think the goal counted but it turns out they get a penalty! Maple Leafs power play with less than two minutes remaining.

The Leafs play it safe, and Mitch Marner extends his goal streak to five games with the empty netter. Then, John Tavares gets an empty netter and the Maple Leafs win 7-4!

I never doubted these Maple Leafs at all, I knew they’d win big.

But seriously, don’t be so sloppy for like 45 minutes.

The next Maple Leafs game is Monday night against the New Jersey Devils in game one of a back to back. That should be fun!

Game Notes:

  • This was Jeff Blashill’s 500th game as a head coach in the NHL. All have been with the Detroit Red Wings.
  • Jeff Marek said in the intermission that there are teams interested in trading for Petr Mrázek, but Kyle Dubas says he’s a Leaf for this season. Glasses man bad!
  • Auston Matthews passed Phil Kessel for 20th all time in Maple Leafs scoring. He is now at 396 and needs 12 more to pass Gary Leeman’s 407 for 19th.
  • The Maple Leafs have a 15-0-1 record when scoring 4 or more goals.