clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Leafs win while playing the Panthers even

No one dominated this game, unless you count JT on Gudas.

Florida Panthers v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

It’s SEGABABA time, what could possibly go wrong? Seldo was going to do the recap, but he chose to actually go to this game and watch it in person. His priorities are all wrong.

Things to know: Ilya Mikheyev and William Nylander will start the game swapped like they ended yesterday’s. Petr Mrázek is in net. The Panthers also played last night, and they needed a shootout to beat the Senators, so they are also tired, have travelled, and want a win.

First Period

At least Mason Marchment picks on someone his own size.

That was fast!

1-0 Leafs

Florida rings one off the crossbar, who is possibly the Leafs most reliable goalie right now.

Ilya Lyubushkin dishes the puck up and it doesn’t go through, and he immediately falls back to the blueline, and Mitch Marner moves in, but with a lot of caution in case the play turns the other way, and... you know that’s all good, and I approve, and yet it’s annoying as hell to see a team as gifted as the Leafs playing risk averse.

Brandon Montour scores to tie it up, and what you should look at here is the moment when Sam Bennett looks at Mrázek, and the entire open side of the ice, pauses, and then pops the puck over to Montour, who has all the time and space to put that one in the net.

Tie Game

So whose fault is it? The puck watching defenders — all five of them — leaving the guy open? The goalie who can’t get over to even really make a play on the pass (notice his right skate never connects with the post)? The skaters’ inability to regain possession along the boards for a very long time? Or all of the above?

Long fourth line defensive shift where Holl and Brodie are expecting to block every shot as the only defence.

The Leafs take the first penalty for Holl dumping Giroux. And now everyone has a conundrum. If you thought that was tripping on Matthews last night, you’re cool with this. If you’re not, you feel like the ref just wanted to call something.

Florida struggle to spend much time setup on their power play, and Mrázek has the saves he needs.

Blackwell is on a rush, and suddenly a whistle! Holl is taking another penalty for running into a guy. This is more of a penalty than the “tripping” but not much more. I feel like I’m slowly being radicalized, but by the refs, not you all.

Holl will still be in the box when the second period starts.

Thoughts

  • That’s not tripping
  • Maple Leafs are largely picking up where they left off vs the Canadiens
  • Of course, Florida is a tougher opponent

Second Period

Sooooo, uh... the Leafs kill the penalty. And William “I am Cursed” Nylander turns the puck over on a shift with Matthews and Bunting, and, oh dear, that’s the fourth line for the Panthers out there.

2-1 Florida

Lomberg from Luostarinen is exactly what you want to see scoring on your top three forwards. Even I don’t know who those guys are. Nylander was just the last guy to do something ill-advised with the puck on that play, not the only guy.

Matthews gets a solo break, so as you do, he drops it back for Marner and no one gets a shot off.

The Leafs with some lovely pressure and over in the corner some Florida player was dumping a Leafs guy back into the bench. The whistle blows, and amazingly, that’s not the penalty.

This was:

Radko Gudas is a: mad as hell and b: going to the box and c: trying hard for supplemental discipline, and all because he spent 10 seconds close up with Michael Bunting.

JT! Whoo hooo, that’s what we like to see, power play power.

Tie Game

Spencer Knight just lets that rebound pop up for a bunt single.

The game has opened up, sped up, and gotten a little out of control.

Knight demonstrates post discipline when he just barely saves a dump in from turning into a goal.

JT part two!

3-2 Leafs

Look, that’s just a beautiful pass. Enough said.

Gudas and ... wait, who? John Tavares? get into it in the corner, and they both go off. I hope Gudas has water now.

JT and Gudas do another dance behind the Florida net, and this is not the rivalry I expected out of these two teams, but it sure is fun.

Engvall gets two for falling down, which would be tripping if he wasn’t a Leaf. (See, you have radicalized me, I never used to care about penalties.)

Marner almost gets a shorty break — well he does, he takes the shot — but the period is over.

Thoughts

  • I never notice Mark Giordano
  • Never. I think that’s likely good because it means he isn’t puck hogging or doing things we all regret.
  • Jason Spezza, Wayne Simmonds and Colin Blackwell are almost benched.
  • Corsi and xG are both 50-50.

Third Period

I’ve enjoyed Petr Mrázek in this game. He looks like a string of tough opponents would help him out.

The fourth line gets a shift, and you instantly know why it’s been a while.

Next fourth-line shift, Gustav Forsling just floated at speed through the entire team and got a post.

Oh, MIckey that is really amazing.

4-2 Leafs

More amazing I actually agree with the commentary, that Mikheyev is being more careful about shooting location. If you check out the HockeyViz shot map, it says he is, that this isn’t random chance, this is real improvement in quality of shooting. And no, I don’t think that is injury related. This is brain stuff.

Knight is scrambling, Leafs are pressing, and they nearly get the fifth goal three times.

Surprised Bunting didn’t take a penalty for that.

Florida pulls Knight with over four minutes, and JT misses the empty net. Oh well, you’ll get more tries. Four minutes is a long time.

Mrázek makes a good stop, and this one is very close to being in the books as a win.

TJ Brodie’s stick breaks through carbon fibre fatigue, and play carries on.

Wow, Mrázek getting a quasi-standing-o after a good performance here as Florida presses hard.

Leafs fail to clear, and they make Mrázek work for the final seconds of glory here.

A Matthews ENG makes it 5-2, and that puts him in the lead for the Richard. They don’t ask how...

Thoughts

  • Keefe’s lineup worked well, and both Tavares and Nylander had strong games in the xG% department.
  • The Leafs did not dominate in this game because — why would you think they could? But they played to their strengths and hung there even up with the best team in the east.

Bruins are next on Tuesday.