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Leafs massively outplay the Canucks, lose the game

I swear I heard, “he fanned on the shot,” six times.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

Leafs at Vancouver: check. Afternoon in BC: Check. Leafs win: let’s find out.

First Period

First goal goes to J.T. Miller, who may or may not be available in trade, and I’d take him:

1-0 Canucks

Petr Mrázek is an active goalie, this is going to happen.

First penalty to the Canucks, so we’ll see what the PP can do to even this back up.

Broadcast says the Matthews rocket — now a staple of every game — is 95 mph, which is in the hardest shot range.

Pierre Engvall takes a penalty as the Vancouver penalty ends, so now it’s advantage Canucks.

They take advantage:

PKers and Mrázek colluded on this one.

2-0 Canucks

Big Canucks flurry that leaves the score unchanged, but so far the Leafs have one really good chance to score to their credit with a very small bunch of secondary efforts.

Canucks get their second PP on a holding call to Brodie, which means a lot of other PK defenders get some time. It’s mostly better than the first one, with the exception of an astonishing turnover right in front of the net. Canucks do nothing with this gift.

Dammit! Post makes a save on a Sandin shot that should have been a goal. Stupid post.

Thoughts

  • It’s not like the Leafs were bad.
  • It’s not like Mrázek was either.
  • Demko was good, but didn’t really have to make hard saves, just more of them. Post was better.

Second Period

I don’t expect the Leafs to be quite so much all the possession, none of the scoring pop as they were in the first.

Or not, as Nylander whiffs on a shot.

Luke Schenn uses Rasmus Sandin to break the plexi.

Canucks get a rush against that almost goes in, which is all the excitement they’ve generated this period. Otherwise, it’s all Leafs.

Oh, oh my, Matthews with a fantastic chance, but no dice. Demko with great positioning.

And then the Leafs take a penalty.

Mikheyev misses on a shorty chance: drink.

The Canucks really don’t have a PP to speak of. They’d probably enjoy life more if someone built them one that fit the skilled players they have.

Canucks want to see that Leafs PP again, and the refs oblige.

Yeah! JT to Matthews on a great play. This is Leafs playing like Leafs:

2-1 Canucks.

The fans, all 500 of them, seem split Leafs/Canucks, and I love this stuff. Like European hockey.

Mrázek with a great save! Rush chance against, naturally.

Luke Schenn takes a penalty, and sorry, the trade is off, Luke.

Can you say second unit rules? They do:

This entire play is glorious. And why I gave Spezza an A for his PP work.

Tie Game!

It’s all Leafs flitting around like... oh, I don’t know.. leaves blowing in the wind? The Canucks are sort of slow like... hmmm... a big whale. This is how you sportwrite, right?

Arghhhhhhh! Leafs. What are you like? A turnover machine, that’s what:

3-2 Canucks.

Thoughts

  • It pains me to say this, but T.J. Brodie is not having the best game of his career here.
  • Demko > Post in this period.
  • There is no deserve in hockey, so I won’t tell you who deserves to be winning, but the Leafs are the better team.
  • Blah, blah, shots on goal: However, the Leafs shot quality and location is getting much, much less Leafs-typical:

Third Period

Step one: dig up out of the hole. Step two....?

Rielly takes a fairly accidental tripping call to open the period, but the Canucks PP is terrible.

If the Canucks leaned on their top players any harder, they’d topple, but so far it’s working.

Oh, Willie. He gets a breakaway, but Demko has it. So naturally the Canucks get one back. Mrázek has this one, though.

At this point the Leafs own the puck, Demko owns the crease, and I expect the Canucks to score on a turnover induced breakaway. However, and I’m futilely emphasizing this again: the quality of the Leafs offence is overall very poor.

The game, in the final five minutes has degenerated into the track meet style that people claim to love. It just looks like chaos to me.

Matthews and Nylander on the PK (Tavares high sticking) with a minute and a half to go. I like it. They get some chances with the goalie pulled, so it’s not really a PK.

Canucks get an ENG, the most likely outcome of the goalie pulled.

4-2 Canucks.

There is an IIHF-style review of this goal, which is deeply annoying.

Offside, so it’s 3-2 Canucks.

45 seconds left, and the Leafs give it their all at the end, but so does Demko.

Thoughts

Make something great, everyone.