The Leafs have mixed up the lines, and the Coyotes are not yet reduced to getting Michael Grabner to set down his golf clubs and pick up a stick so they have enough players. Let’s get to it.
The Coyotes come out exactly how you’d expect a much-maligned bottom-feeder team to perform in Toronto: They are playing their hardest.
The Leafs are not. Particularly not Petr Mrázek. Word is, the Leafs have been working on clearing rebounds, and having the goalies play in traffic. So when confronted with a shot that needs to be cleared — the thing Mrázek has been struggling with — he flat out misses with the blocker and sets up goal number one:
Alex Galchenyuk from Riley Nash. 1-0 Arizona pic.twitter.com/1Ek7DMjsDU— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 11, 2022
The Coyotes come back hard, the Leafs don’t and the result is a two-on-one rush chance where Morgan Rielly fails to take the pass, and Mrázek has to move laterally to go from one shooter to the other, and he hasn’t got the stuff for that:
One of the Leafiest goals against I've ever seen... pic.twitter.com/qGmenjCDia— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 11, 2022
Keefe tries to challenge this, loses, and the Coyotes get a power play, which just lets them coast along with the offensive momentum.
The Leafs have one shot on goal at the halfway point.
And then, blessedly, they wake the hell up and start playing hard and fast. However, David Kämpf gets the best chance on net while the Leafs destroy the plans of Sportsnet by playing about 12 minutes without a whistle. There is no TV timeout until two minutes left.
The Coyotes get a little more going at the end to show they aren’t resting on their two-goal lead
- Every time Keefe tries the “roll four lines against a bad team” scheme, it blows up in his face
- The Leafs woke up a lot faster than they used to when this happens
- When your goalies are either broken in half, flakey as the pastry you make turnovers from, or rookies, maybe don’t expect them to be perfect while you fiddle around for a period letting the Arizona Coyotes outplay you like that. Just a thought.
Arizona starts the second period with a flurry at the net, Mrázek is diving, the Leafs are blocking, but then...
In the slo-mo, you can see Timothy Liljegren actually interfere with Mrázek.
Nick Robertson with the booming version of his shot, misses the net, but he’s playing well on the second line.
Ilya Mikheyev, looking like he means business, moves up the right side, and he just blows away all the trailers. He does a buttonhook (he’ll need to pay the royalties to Nylander for the move) and the result is a goal from the shutdown line that is just really lovely.
Good smarts from Pierre Engvall there at the net.
Michael Bunting on a breakaway, and he totally has no intention of shooting. I don’t know how I feel about this. His strength is that he knows he’s never the best player on the ice, and he ends up making it work, but maybe... shoot your shot some of the time.
Robertson passes to the retreating figure of John Tavares going off on a shift change, and as the play develops, Mrázek lets in one from distance making just about every mistake you can make.
The whole play isn't on goaltending— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 11, 2022
Starts with a poor decision from Robertson that led to the chance against pic.twitter.com/YJeh1XEm5f
And to the rookie goalie we go. And yes, it is said something like shell-gren.
Maple Leafs have tied their record for number of goalies used in the regular season. Ain’t that neat?
That’s it for the second period. Were you not entertained?
Nylander accidentally trips Tavares on their first shift back together pic.twitter.com/IHowNUFFdb— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 11, 2022
- I honestly think the Leafs should trade for Jakob Chychrun because I don’t this team is going deep in this playoffs and they should be building for next year.
- Maybe the second intermission of one of those games is not the time to think about that, but I’ve been feeling it for a while
- There’s something missing at the heart of this team, and partly that’s skill on defence.
- And yes, actually I do know they’d be blah, blah, blah points with better goaltending
20 more minutes.
Did we give them Mrázek? Scott Wedgewood lets one in from distance, and Alex Kerfoot has made it a game:
The Kämpf line with yet another hard-working, good offensive shift.
Really hard not to love this Ilya Lyubushkin trade. He just seems competent when all around him aren’t always.
Matthews very nearly gets a goal, which he thinks went in.
There’s the horn! Wheee. These are fun. He knew.
AUSTON MATTHEWS— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) March 11, 2022
44TH OF THE YEAR! SIGNALLED GOOD GOAL pic.twitter.com/Fscwu6J13j
I almost like Hall & Oates tonight, oh, hello. Hello, Mr Fourth Line.
Funny how he’s just fine with Tavares and Kerfoot, isn’t it? Technically those two goals were 10 seconds apart. Okay, after all of that, there’s just over 10 minutes left.
Wedgewood with a great save on Engvall.
Massive flurry around Wedgewood by the Tavares line.
Lots of Leafs pressure, no Leafs goals, so this is going to OT
Källgren with a ten-bell save and it turns into a Nylander rush, which Wedgewood almost lets in.
Matthews is interfered with by Chychrun who then scores.
Arizona wins, and I’ve never heard this crowd boo this lustily when it wasn’t for their own goalie.
The ref really did do it this time.
- I still think they should trade for Chychrun, the best player available