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Recap: Maple Leafs get the last laugh on the Blues

Big Willie Styles with the big style goal in overtime.

Toronto Maple Leafs v St Louis Blues Photo by Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images

The Leafs are icing the same lineup that won the last game before Christmas, right down to the goalie, which is a little interesting. Oh, and me too! Let’s see how they and I do against the strangely underperforming Blues.

First Period

The Leafs busiest defender! Justin Holl (still not traded) opens the scoring after a fairly typical back-and-forth, chanceless start. Lovely goal.

1-0 Leafs

Matthews follows up with a rush chance, not your normal occurrence, and makes Binnington move his butt to make the save.

Logan Brown eventually wins a board battle behind the Leafs net over Conor Timmins. It wasn’t easy, but he did it. And the end result is a goal scored by former Leafs/Marlie Calle Rosén (who was traded) while Samsonov is down and out after falling, essentially.

Tie Game

Much gets made about the Leafs not being tough enough, but Timmins really made the giant Brown work hard to win that puck.

Leafs take a penalty — Pontus Holmberg for hooking, after the refs tried to take Marner for the crime — and it’s to the PK. This game changed balance fast.

The only way you can tell this is a power play is that the icing by the Leafs isn’t called.

Pierre Engvall gets the puck in the offensive zone, and it’s amazing to see all the Blues back, tight to the net, and Engvall flipping a pointless shot into 10 shins, meanwhile the rest of the Leafs are hovering at the blue line. That line would rather shoot at 100 shins than risk any chance against.

Oh my. Oh my, and just as I was composing a whinge about the Leafs shooting from the top of the circles for tips when there’s no one there to tip, and Marner and JT combine on a “It just makes sense” goal. Järnkrok was there to tip it in, but he wasn’t required.

2-1 Leafs

And that’s it for this period.

Thoughts

  • The Blues are playing a competent five-on-five game, but clearly lack some sparkle of talent up front.
  • I don’t think the xG on this game is going to match reality really well. A lot of things going on here it doesn’t pick up.

Second Period

Biggest chance comes early when Binnington just can’t seem to make the save, and Matthews can’t quite put it in.

Holl knocks down Robert Thomas, and the Leafs are on the PK again. Thomas seems at least winded, if not hurt.

Oh. My. God. Watch this shorty.

3-1 Leafs

Alex (still not traded) Kerfoot just takes advantage of Blues ineptitude.

Wow, Samsonov with robbery on the only hot shooter tonight for the Blues, Noel Acciari.

Ryan O’Reilly had had enough, and he basically just manifests this goal.

3-2 Leafs

Holl (still can’t trade him) did not cover himself in glory here.

Oh good, we get the Blues power play again. Kerfoot found one of those folding card tables that fall if you lean on them.

This is much better, unfortunately, than their first four minutes of power play time. Samsonov with some big saves on O’Reilly.

Yeah, much better.

Tie Game

Big save Sammy was out of big saves on this one.

Leafs get a power play, which is allowed, apparently. Wait, Nick Leddy plays for the Blues?

Lots of zone time, no red light.

My boy Pontus damn near scores, and Calle Järnkrok finishes the job. Beautiful grinder goal.

4-3 Leafs

There was some serious lingonberry jam on that meatball line goal.

Blues flip the puck out, and it’s time for more power play experimenting.

Same again, lots of good movement and chances, no red light.

Thoughts

  • Seven goals in two periods and five power plays? I don’t know what you learn from this other than to just keep moving, no matter what the game throws at you. Preferably towards the net.

Third Period

Tavares opens the third with a stupid holding penalty in the offensive zone.

Samsonov opens the PK with some big saves while still scrambling, but the Blues were handled very easily this time.

Binnington comes waaaaaaay out to poke the puck away and Mitch Marner looks confused.

At the other end, Samsonov scrambles like mad, and fails to save it.

Tie Game

Keefe does his super angry act to fire up the team.

Kerfoot gets some heavy zone time. So if that’s fired up, it worked.

Samsonov, who has been incredibly inconsistent, makes a marvelous save on a Buchnevich chance.

There’s a lot of “playing for the tie” players on the ice in the last three minutes.

Oh, wow. Zach Aston-Reese is absolutely smacked in the face by a stick, and the ref really missed this. All Keefe’s lobster face is justified while ZAR is spitting blood at the bench.

And it’s overtime, playing for the tie by putting Järnkrok out for Nylander is everything that’s wrong with the points system. (Calle was awesome tonight though.)

Overtime

Keefe starts with the defensive OT trio of Kämpf, Liljegren and Brodie, which, sorry — this was proven as ineffective years ago, stop it.

One minute in, they’re still out there because they have never touched the puck and can’t change.

Matthews finally comes out, and holy shit! Brodie is brought down in some wrestling move I’d know the name of if I’d ever once watched wrestling.

Brodie gets a penalty shot. Which... Yeah, he doesn’t do it. Good try, buddy, you did your best.

With the real Leafs offence on the ice, they get all the chances, but still no red light.

BIG WILLY STYLES!!!!

LEAFS WIN.

Hey maybe playing for the tie by benching the team goal machine is... good? bad?

Thoughts

That game is now over, that’s the best part other than the last five seconds of OT. Next game is Thursday and it’s a 9 pm start. We’ll try to tell you that 800 times between now and then.