It is the Remembrance Day game, a day to honour the lives of those who fought and died in two world wars.
It is also the HHOF induction weekend and the inductees are on hand (mostly) for puck drop.
Today also marks the return of Börje Salming to the Maple Leafs arena. He will be on hand this weekend, so we can tell him now, in person, how much he means to us as fans of the game, the Leafs and how much we appreciate the sacrifices he made to force the NHL to change into the game we know today.
Salming is on the ice for the inductees announcement, a very emotional moment, and he will be honoured again tomorrow.
standing ovation for Borje Salming pic.twitter.com/klUsl5EzOw— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
Sheldon Keefe will coach his 200th career regular season NHL game tonight.— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) November 12, 2022
He enters tonight’s game with record of a 123-54-22 (.673).
In the opening minute, Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews can’t win a board battle against Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby. Should they be able to?
Leafs get the first power play when Malkin high sticks Malgin.
This is a great power play with thrills and chills, hard shots and deceptive shots, great passes, and that’s just Auston Matthews. No goal.
The Leafs pretty much hand Sidney Crosby some free shots at Erik Källgren after. Hemmed in big time. This is not a winning strategy.
The Leafs start to defend extremely well. The only problem is, that’s all they’re doing, they aren’t transitioning that to offence.
Zach Aston-Reese gets the puck out and the most able offensive player with him is Justin Holl.
Kallgren slides across and makes two solid saves pic.twitter.com/H8cR4ENA7A— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
Scoooooores! Just exactly the pair of sick hands you expect.
buries the rebound from Malgin's initial shot pic.twitter.com/T5f73VUR08— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
Also, Malgin, alls I’m saying is, he’s the best player on the team, okay?
Aston-Reese is a wrecking ball out there, and you love to see it. Malkin goes to the box again for a trip and the eighteen stick infractions that came after.
Bunting starts a big scene at the end of the power play, which still looked good with a selection of PK-type guys on it. Perhaps Keefe didn’t want a repeat of the first post-PP business.
He gets something worse: A cranky Malkin scores to tie it up and really sells how mad he was that he took a (very deserved) penalty.
Evgeni Malkin ties it— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
had an open cage as the initial shot went off Brodie's leg pic.twitter.com/PMGwejRpCb
Leafs not able to clear plus a funky bounce. The period ends with the Leafs still struggling to get past the red line.
- Pittsburgh had 19 Corsi For
- Leafs blocked seven shots
- Pittsburgh missed with five
- Corsi: 35% Leafs
- Yet Källgren didn’t look that busy
- No matter, this is not good play:
Okay. This game can... well, you know.
Marner with the puck in his skates and a rush goes pfffft.
Marner almost had a two-on-one with Kerfoot but the puck got lost in his skates pic.twitter.com/bK7XdgysKP— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
Then, this sweet gift for Jason Zucker:
Jason Zucker puts the Penguins ahead pic.twitter.com/7oeudaeedp— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
Blasted Malkin again. He can “you know” as well.
Malgin misses on a wide open net because the puck won’t cooperate.
the puck bounced over Malgin's stick pic.twitter.com/idmukuNdAr— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
Leafs come back hard, I’ll give them that, but Casey DeSmith is stymieing them.
John Tavares takes a hooking call in the offensive zone as he’s trying to stop a transition out of the zone, and the Leafs do an excellent job of killing it off. The Penguins barely have the puck.
I had time to hem my pants while the Leafs were hemmed in again.
Rasmus Sandin shoots it wide (possibly intentionally for a tip) for the second or third time, and there’s no one there to tip it.
Letang trips Bunting (who gets away with a sales job where he launches himself into the net after) and it’s another Maple Leafs power play.
Oh, man. Nylander gets the post when he should have had a goal.
Nylander beats DeSmith but hits the post— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
no way pic.twitter.com/xVfHDKAd4F
Okay, he says. Forget that one, let’s try this one:
BLAST! pic.twitter.com/gaBo5wzVX1— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
The game opens up WIIIIDE after the goal with end-to-end action with some bad passes leading to excitement. Keefe is super mad about a Sandin pass that was pretty dumb.
- I just love William Nylander like Sheldon Keefe loves his guys who can’t score
- Much better period by the Leafs, where they kept up the shot blocking but started shooting themselves
- They look dominant at all situations, and yet... not quite Leafs typical offensively — getting there
One thing that’s really enjoyable to see is confident, clean passes — particularly from Mitch Marner, because he needs to be doing that, and he starts the third with a good shift. Bunting moved back up mid-second period as he plays out the coach’s redemption arc.
Malgin loses his best player of the game title on this one:
Brock McGinn scores— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
Malgin turns it over in the neutral zone pic.twitter.com/hqsMU4olsj
Another early-period disaster play that sees Källgren looking very AHL.
Zucker just misses putting this one to bed. Thank the crappy SBA ice for that one, I think.
that was close pic.twitter.com/scvYVjCsNn— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) November 12, 2022
The Leafs go an age without a whistle, and get stuck with long shifts... in the offensive zone. This shift length thing is genuinely a thing, not just the excuse for a weird on-screen graphic.
Källgren is pulled and the Penguins miss the net 11 million times until they don’t.
- Oh, what do I think?
- Neither teem was excellent, nor were they bad
- It’s handy to have the better goalie in a game like that
- The Leafs are underscoring, but also really are just underperforming enough, they’re neither excellent nor bad.
Tomorrow is another day.