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Recap: Leafs douse the Flames in overtime

Marner and Nylander with the extinguishers tonight.

Calgary Flames v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s HNIC! Let’s douse the Flames. The big news is they’ve figured out Milan Lucic isn’t very good. Meanwhile in Toronto, Joey Anderson is getting a chance.

First Period

Gotta love a one-anthem game. Still starts 15 minutes late.

One minute in and I’ve heard Denis Malgin’s name three times. He wants to keep this gig.

Ping! Michael Bunting with a post on a great breakaway, and does he draw a penalty? He does.

Dan Vladar with a stop on John Tavares, and so far (all of a handfull of minutes) he’s why the Flames aren’t down a pair.

Oh baby. I mean, really, this is gorgeous.

1-0 Leafs.

(Told you ain’t nothin wrong with him.)

Calgary immediately take another penalty.

The second unit of the power play is officially blunted without Robertson or Engvall.

Nikita Zadorov knocks over Matthews, and it should be a power play, but the ensuing stuff sends Wayne Simmonds to the box too, and we get four-on-four.

Normally, I’d back the Leafs during four-on-four, but the Flames even the score:

Tie Game.

Oh wow. The Leafs get some serious chances, and then as these things go, the Flames get the puck back by playing defence, and it goes right through a motionless Murray.

2-1 Flames.

Classic Kadri.

Leafs get yet another power play, and William Nylander makes it all better.

Tie Game.

Thoughts

  • It’s not that other teams collapse defensively and generate offensive rushes out of it, that’s basic stuff. It’s that the Leafs don’t.
  • First half of the period was all Leafs at five-on-five, second half was nobody. Good thing for power plays.
  • Malgin took an uncalled high stick before the first power play and never returned from the facial repair.

Second Period

Malgin is back, so the Leafs have four lines again.

Bunting with a nice shot to get this one going. He’s been so much more fun to watch lately.

Good god, what the hell was that!!! Murray came out, way out to poke the puck and then he just got caught out in no-man’s land twice. I have no idea, goalies, man.

Murray was trying to help the very outgunned Giordano on a footrace.

Vladar’s stick is in the middle of Lake Ontario, the Leafs are cycling hard, and... nope, nothing.

Marner and Nylander have swapped lines for no really obvious reason, and Nylander dominated that shift, but I honestly think a scoring chance on a stickless goalie is the least I can ask for.

Oh my! Simmonds just steals the puck and hands it to Zach Aston-Reese. No goal, but come on, that’s not his job.

The Leafs get a little Leafy defensively and the Flames take the lead.

3-2 Flames.

I guess Marner is back with Tavares.

Giordano goes straight to the box after, in case this hadn’t gotten bad enough.

Huge save by Vladar on Matthews after the PK.

Leafs fourth line gets hemmed in for a long, long shift — a testimony to the state of the depth given the injuries.

William Nylander makes it all better.

Tie Game.

That playmaker guy, Matthews, he’s not bad.

Malgin on a break and, do you remember Michael Grabner? Yeah, me too.

Thoughts

  • I don’t think Murray has been bad, per se, just not the super human saviour he’s been lately.
  • Joey Anderson made no positive impression, alas. No negative either, to be fair.
  • This game is the proof you can’t trade Engvall the way the season has been for Holl.
  • So here’s a new thing. I thought the Leafs were weak in the first and pressured in the second, and yet I don’t feel like they can’t win it. They have proven their mettle to me. They also played a lot better that period, so that’s likely why I’m not worried.

Third Period

Early power play for the Flames courtesy of Simmonds. One good pass isn’t going to make up for two penalties.

There’s a goal, but it’s under review because it’s post-whistle. Murray thought he had this. Good goal, which is likely valid and the whistle was just wrong. It’s a “continuous play” that begins before the whistle.

4-3 Flames.

I guess it’s up to Nylander to make it okay again, and there is a lot of time left.

Oh nice! (Not Nylander, although he’s in on it.) Michael Bunting makes it okay again.

Tie Game!

The Matthews line gets hemmed in hard, which is very rare, and they eventually get loose.

Uh oh. Matthews high-sticked, and for a second I thought it was his wrist and my heart stopped — he was bent over like he was clutching his arm. Bunting does exactly the same thing Simmonds did and turns it into a four-on-four. Ah, except the high-sticking is four minutes, so I guess that makes it okay. We then waste 20 years reviewing that for no reason.

Power play begins, with Matthews kicked off because he’s still bleeding. Malgin hugs the bench and Matthews pops back out. Rules, baby, pretend to follow them always.

Flames blow a great two-on-one. Lucky for the Leafs.

So, you know, Kevin Papetti suggested playing Liljegren on the power play as a forward to rifle the one-timer, and I don’t hate that idea. But this Leafs power play is not it.

Joey Anderson draws a penalty on a net rush! Good boy, Joey. That gets you noticed.

Nylander this close to scoring on the power play. Leafs take a timeout with the second unit on the ice, and this is a clever coach move to get the top unit back out.

Nylander with two more shots, but no dice.

Vladar keeping the Flames alive here as the Leafs press hard.

The end of this game is just chaos, with everyone trying to score and ruin all the predictions of playing for the loser point.

Thoughts

  • Tough game from a management perspective. Too close to play the depth, too many power plays to rest the top six.
  • Brodie floated up to second-most ice time at five-on-five, so he might be listed as top pairing D by next game.

Overtime

Can the Leafs be just not embarrassing? That’s all I ask.

Uh, oh. Keefe is doing the defensive start with Kämpf, Liljegren and Sandin (Is that the forward is the defenceman and the defender is the forward?). And it draws a penalty off the faceoff, as you expect.

YES! Now that’s a goal to remember.

Marner wins it!