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The difference is goaltending as Canucks beat Leafs

A good night ruined

NHL: MAR 05 Canucks at Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 05: Toronto Maple Leafs Goalie Jack Campbell (36) gives up the goal in the first period during the NHL regular season game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 05, 2022, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada.
Photo by Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs scored four goals on 35 shots in a 6-4 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Auston Matthews scored twice, alongside Nick Robertson’s first career regular season goal, and John Tavares breaking his exhausting goal slump, but it wasn’t enough as Jack Campbell allowed five goals on 28 shots (2.65 expected goals). Expected goals are the average goals a goalie should expect to allow based on shot locations and other factors.

This was the second start in a row Campbell gave up five goals, the previous being last Saturday in a 9-7 win over the Detroit Red Wings where Campbell was pulled after five goals and the lead. Sheldon Keefe gave Campbell the week off in the hope of letting him reset himself, but his play in this game didn’t look any different from before.

What can you really ask for from your goalie when the team in front puts up a performance like this. The forwards showed up, the defense kept their opponent under 30 shots. This should’ve been a win. I don’t get mad about games like Buffalo where no one showed up, but I do get tired of games where the team did their job and they were let down like this.

It should also be mentioned the Canucks only took two penalties in the game, one early and then a delay of game call. I promise that’s not all that should’ve been called.

Wayne 1000th Game

This game was also Wayne Simmonds’ 1000th NHL game, a huge milestone for him and his family.

After tonight’s game, Simmonds has 262 goals, 521 points, 102 power play goals, 2108 shots, and 1221 penalty minutes. And he’s still got some years left in him. We love you, Simmer, sorry the team couldn’t get you the win tonight.

First Period

Engvall had an early, exciting rush chance from the right wing that forced Demko to make a shoulder save on the short side. The next chance came from Tavares tipping a point shot from Rielly that just missed the reverse side. Even when getting in good positions, Tavares can’t buy any bounces.

The defense looked shaky early on, Lyubushkin and Dermott struggled to get the puck out of the zone with possession — they often turned the puck over, recovered it, and dumped it in. Lyubushkin really missed Sandin in the first five minutes. Another moment in the first five minutes was when Brodie was caught in the offensive zone, forcing Holl to cover a 2-on-1, which he did surprisingly well, staying on the puck carrier and deflecting the shot out of play.

Brodie nearly connected on another rush chance after Tavares stole the puck in the neutral zone and pushed the Canucks back with a good pass to Robertson. He found Nylander behind him, who passed across the royal road for Brodie, but the shot went wide.

0-1

Campbell with another block right into the slot, and JT Miller beat Liljegren in the battle for the rebound, opening the scoring. The rebound from Campbell was awful, Rielly actually did a good job battling his guy in front of the net, but Liljegren got beat tracking Miller high and then getting cut underneath for the rebound.

1-1

JOHNNY T BREAKING THE CURSE!!! After Rielly and Marner didn’t quite put their zone entry together, Rielly made a good second effort to get the puck in with Marner again. Marner got the puck to Tavares, who wasn’t going to pass to anyone no matter what. From there, everyone in the GTA breathed a sigh of relief followed by an exclamation of joy.

Tavares continued his play with two more tip chances from point shots that connected and nearly found its way in. He likes the play of drifting towards the corner from the slot as the right defender shoots it and trying to tip it.

Another good play from Kämpf, showing what he can do defensively.

1-2

Vancouver scored on a point shot after the low shot bounced off some legs (Brodie maybe) and beat Campbell. Not much you can do with the tip, but positionally he didn’t have the five-hole covered. It was also a pretty back-breaking goal in the final minute of the period after the Leafs played pretty well.

After One

The Leafs were playing really well until the final few minutes of the period. The shots were 10-5, but then the Canucks woke up and the Leafs mostly let them run around in the offensive zone. The Canucks proceeded to take advantage with 10 shots, six on net, and the goal against. Those swings in play happen, the Leafs needed to not break and give up that goal so they could reset in the second.

One thing that also happened in that part of the first was Kerfoot getting a defensive start in Robertson’s position. There were two shifts at the end in that arrangement. At that point in the game I think Keefe was trying to play it safe and avoid a late goal against. While it didn’t work for the rest of the team and the 1-2 goal, I think it’s also telling Robertson isn’t trusted with that assignment yet.

Second Period

Nylander broke through the defense, splitting them and getting a chance in alone, but he ran out of space and couldn’t get enough on his shot. Robertson set him up on that play with a pass in the neutral zone.

Matthews tried the lacrosse goal behind the net on Demkos, but Horvat slashed his stick and Demko knocked the net off. Gotta be some policies on those “methods” to mitigate that play.

1-3

Dermott took a penalty and Boeser scored on a rebound from Campbell on the power play. Brodie tied up Horvat, but he couldn’t stop Boeser too.

2-3

Nylander to Robertson for his first regular season goal!!! What a perfect pass from Nylander to Robertson, who showed all his shooting talent with his catch and shoot.

Demko robbed Wayne (on his 1000th game!) on a 2-on-1 with Spezza.

This was a fun defensive play from Lyubushkin.

3-3

Matthews to tie it!!! Tavares and Nylander were on a shift with #34 and pressured the defense to create a turnover that got the puck right to Matthews, who made no mistake.

This goal for Matthews tied the league lead in goals again.

I really thought this was going in. My Engvall admiration will never truly go away.

4-3

How did that not go in for Liljegren!? BUT IT DOES FOR MATTHEWS! The first line and pair were absolutely running roughshod on the Canucks, getting chance after chance after chance. Marner found Liljegren for a cross-ice pass with Demko without a stick, but the goalie somehow stopped it. But Matthews came back with a shot from range and a melee in front, to beat Demko.

And this goal put him back ahead.

After Two

As bad as the end of the first period was, the start of the second was just as good. Other than the power play goal, the Leafs applied lots of pressure and converted at the end. Shots in the second were 30-16 for the Leafs.

Third Period

4-4

Close you five-hole, Jack. The Canucks tie it with Pearson in front of the net.

4-5

“Good job, Marner,” said my dad in reaction to Marner trying to block a shot with his foot after losing his stick and Tyler Myers scoring to give the Canucks the lead. My dad later stormed out of the room to go clean the kitchen.

The Leafs put on pressure, but other than one Matthews chance, it was mostly possession and no goals. There were also many chances for the referees to call something, but they only got Luke Schenn on a puck-over-glass call.

With 2:44 left in the game, the Leafs pulled Campbell for the extra attacker. Matthews and Rielly stopped two empty net chances with great plays, but nothing doing offensively.

After a timeout, the power play unit came out with Spezza for the 6-on-5. Demko robbed Marner at the side of the net from Tavares’ net front pass. Matthews was stopped by Demko after another Tavares pass from behind the net.

4-6

Motte scored the empty netter to end the game.