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Recap: Maple Leafs dominate the Capitals from start to finish

That was as thorough a beat down I’ve seen the Leafs manage all year

Washington Capitals v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/NHLI via Getty Images

GO LEAFS GO!

PERIOD ONE

Game starts on a physical note...

Kampf almost sets up Nylander off a nifty little steal in the Caps’ zone, and fed a pass to a wide open Willy in front. Just couldn’t get his stick on the puck.

Mikheyev got a good chance on the next shift — Liljegren kept the puck in, and Mikheyev had a clever spin move to get free and got in on net. Tavares had a really good chance later on in the same shift and offensive zone possesion. They’re buzzing, and are all over the Caps. The Leafs’ big line comes on next, and...

GOAL! MICHAEL BUNTING SCORES TO BREAK THE DROUGHT AND AUSTON MATTHEWS GETS HIS 100TH POINT ON THE SEASON WITH AN ASSIST! 1-0 LEAFS!

Leafs are not relenting. Giordano almost set up Willy a minute later with another glorious chance. Nylander could have two goals already tonight.

After five minutes, the Leafs are up 13-1 in shot attempts, and have 100% of the expect goals. Theyr’e low-key murdering the Caps early, putting on tons of pressure and spending almost no time in their own zone. I don’t normally share a heatmap in the middle of periods, but... this is after almost 10 minutes lol

Caps get their first good chance off a Kerfoot turnover, but Campbell made the save. Kerfoot takes a penalty on the ensuing faceoff... not a great sequence for him. Caps to the powerplay. Leafs kill it off without much issue, and Engvall got in on a partial break for a good short handed scoring chance. In fact, their penalty kill was so good that their all situations xGF% is HIGHER than it is at 5v5, and so far the Caps have had the only powerplay.

GOAL! WILLY FINALLY GETS ONE! ENGVALL WITH THE INTERCEPTION IN THE DEFENSIVE ZONE AND SPRINGS NYLANDER FOR THE BREAKAWAY SLAPSHOT SNIPE! 2-0 LEAFS!

TOM WILSON IS A FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT, RUNNING JACK CAMPBELL AND TRYING TO BLAME IT ON MUZZIN AS IF HE’S THE ONE THAT WASN’T TRYING TO BEAT MUZZIN INSIDE AND DIDN’T STOP IN TIME WHEN HE COULDN’T MAKE IT.

Leafs go to the PP. Wilson only got a minor for that, at least Campbell looks okay.

Timothy Liljegren getting a shot on PP2 doesn’t score, but he does one better. He drops Wilson on his ass. Took a penalty for it, but I count that as worth it.

First Period Thoughts

Shot attempts: It was as dominant a period as I’ve seen from the Leafs all year. They finish up 20-4 in shot attempts (83%) at even strength.

Expected goals: They were just as good in terms of quality as well, owning 80% of the expected goal share.

Special teams: No goals on special teams for either side, but the Leafs looked very strong on both the powerplay and penalty kill.

Standouts: There is no Leafs player currently below 50% in either shot attempts or expected goals. In fact, all of the lines had some real good shifts throughout the period. Willy had three good chances, Engvall set up Willy and had a short handed rush, Tavares and Mikheyev had some chances each, and the top line had the first goal plus some other good offensive zone pressure.

Heatmap:

PERIOD TWO

And we’re back, with the Leafs on the penalty kill for the rest of Liljegren’s penalty for enacting Karmic Justice on Tom Wilson. They manage it after their usual quick strike PK offense, then have a stellar shift in the Caps’ end with a line of Matthews, Willy and Bunting. On that shift the Leafs drew a penalty, though the offending player seems to disagree... no goal for the Leafs though.

A bit of back and forth, and some more post-whistle rough stuff led to a 4 on 4, and the Caps score as Carlson just completely pyloned Jake Muzzin. 2-1 Leafs.

BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER! RIGHT OFF THE FACEOFF RIELLY GETS A GOOD CHANCE OFF A RUSH AND ILYA LYUBUSHKIN WALKS INTO A CANNON OF A CLAPPER TO MAKE IT 3-1! BOOSH’S FIRST GOAL WITH THE LEAFS AND SECOND CAREER GOAL!

AND WITHIN 29 SECONDS OF CARLSON’S GOAL THE LEAFS HAVE SCORED TWICE! RIELLY THE CATALYST AGAIN AND NYLANDER SCORES ON THE REBOUND FOR HIS SECOND OF THE NIGHT AND 30TH OF THE SEASON! 4-1 LEAFS!

The third line with Engvall, Mikheyev and Kampf almost scored twice on the ensuing shift, which transitioned into Matthews’ line coming on and HE almost scored.

We finally got our Clifford-Wilson fight, so they could get that out of their systOH MY GOD MORGAN RIELLY JUST OBLITERATED SOME POOR SCHMUCK!

AND RIGHT AFTER THE LEAFS’ SECOND LINE WITH MIKHEYEV TAVARES AND KERFOOT DOMINATE ON THE CYCLE AND ILYA MIKHEYEV SCORES OFF A CHEEKY LITTLE CHIP OFF A LOOSE PUCK! 5-1 LEAFS!

AND A MINUTE LATER THEY STRIKE AGAIN! LILJEGREN FLIPS THE PUCK OUT, ENGVALL STEALS IT FROM THE FEET OF A CAPS DEFENDER AND FEEDS BUNTING ON A 2 ON 1! 6-1 LEAFS!

Leafs take a penalty, but Engvall neutralizes it by stripping the defenseman of the puck and being tripped. Engvall had a clear runway for a breakaway without it.

Some hot air blew the puck into the Leafs’ net on the ensuing 4 on 4. Score is now 6-2 Leafs. Not great defense, not a great push by Campbell to get over to the shot.

Second Period Thoughts

Shot attempts: The Leafs didn’t quite have as good a period in terms of shot attempts, only doubling Washington 14-7 in shot attempts at even strength.

Expected goals: But they actually bettered their first period in terms of quality, controlling 89% of expected goals at 5v5. They didn’t have as much offense but gave up basically nothing to the Caps. Both their goals against came off quick strikes during separate 4v4 segments.

Special teams: Same story as the first. No goals for either team on the PP, but the Leafs continued to look dangerous on the PK and drew an even-up call thanks to Engvall.

Standouts: Sadly the only standouts to pick out from the Leafs have been the not so good moments. Muzzin looked pretty bad on the Carlson goal, and Campbell seemed to flub a push off trying to get to Wilson’s shot and left the net wide open as a result. Can’t complain about anyone other than that.

Heatmap: Seriously, this is through two entire periods.

PERIOD THREE

GOAL! LEAFS START THE PERIOD WITH MIKHEYEV BEING SPRUNG FOR THE PRETTY FAKE SLAPSHOT TO BACKHAND GOAL! 7-2 LEAFS!

Leafs go to the penalty kill as the third period picks up some more of the rough stuff. On the ensuing penalty kill, Mikheyev first had a nice chance blowing past two Caps to a loose puck and getting a good chance off a wrap around, and Kerfoot was stopped a moment later off a clean breakaway.

The Caps score against the Leafs’ fourth line to make it 7-3.

Campbell has been busier this period, but has made some good saves.

Leafs win!

Final Thoughts

Leafs definitely took their foot off the gas pedal in the third, but largely looked composed and didn’t let the game get away from them. They were still playing high effort, just more safe defensively and offensively. Caps finally had a good period in terms of getting shots and chances on net, but I’m calling blatant score effects there.