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Leafs clinch 2nd in the Atlantic with a win over the Red Wings

Matthews gets to 60.

Detroit Red Wings v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

A Tuesday night game, 81 of 82 on the season, and it’s against a team already eliminated from the playoffs. Will anyone be watching this? What could go wrong? No and nothing are the answers, right?

First Period

Lots of action in the first half, and the Red Wings are defending well. You can see the line between them and the total bottom feeders in their systems.

We need a soup chant this early? Come on guys.

Nice little offensive move by Jake Muzzin.

Leafs starting to turn this into a shell the goalie exercise — aimed at Detroit. I have to emphasize this game is fast, exciting and looks like it will be over by 8:30.

Leafs get a power play as Muzzin draws the penalty:

The broadcast believes the Leafs are trying new moves on the power play, but regardless of the vintage of them, nothing comes of it, even though Matthews plays with both units.

That’s it for a surprisingly exciting first.

Thoughts

Second Period

As the second gets rolling, the Red Wings are struggling with the speed of Leafs play, while defending them is coming easy to the Leafs.

We had the all Harvard line as Nick Abruzzese and Colin Blackwell did a shift with Alex Kerfoot.

Nick Robertson gets on the score sheet in the wrong way, and the Leafs PK gets some practice.

Mark Giordano is the star of the PK with a big hit, lots of good defence, and I just really like him.

Ned really has Matthews beat tonight. I say let’s get Jason Spezza some points instead.

Spezza with his third (at least) good chance, but it’s Mr. 59 who gets the goal:

Spezza with the assist gets to 995 tonight.

Oh, and it’s 1-0 Leafs

Engvall coughs up the puck, and takes out Jakub Vrana to kill the play going the other way. Theory is Vrana had a sudden attack of strong gravity, which, shrug. The Leafs take and draw fewer penalties than Tampa, so get used to it.

The only exciting part of the Red Wings power play was Kerfoot blocking a shot.

The game will take longer than an hour and a half, but the first two periods didn’t.

Thoughts

  • Nick Robertson has not much to offer here
  • Some of the players who suddenly look good vs the Red Wings are: Blackwell, Abruzzese, and Spezza
  • Jake Muzzin is definitely qualified to play a series against the Red Wings.

Third Period

Close it out, guys. That’s your one job.

John Tavares saves me from trying to find something interesting to say about how easy the Red Wings are to defend:

2-0 Leafs

Wings take a cheesy penalty to balance the scales and the Leafs go to the power play, and we have a long delay while the zebras realize they nabbed the wrong guy.

Detroit can’t escape the entire power play, and that leads directly to #60.

3-0 Leafs

And the crowd chants Em Vee Pee, Em Vee Pee.

A massive effort is now underway to get Marner to 100 points.

Mikheyev with a dumb hit on Sam Gagner, and it’s back to the PK — hey maybe this is a plot to get Marner a point?

Vrana gets a loud post on the power play, Engvall gets a rush the other way, but the score holds.

Nylander with a breakaway, but no goal.

And that’s it.

Thoughts

Em Vee Pee, Em Vee Pee.

The next game is the last game, Friday night vs Boston. If Carolina holds vs the Rangers, they will lock up second place in the east and first in the Metro.