The Toronto Maple Leafs play host to the Detroit Red Wings for tonight’s Indigenous Celebration game. Here is a nice little write up on a few details.
The warm-up sweaters are beautiful on the boys.
And here we go. Samsonov is in net for the Leafs. The Wings are coming off a game last night.
An early icing by Detroit gives the Leafs an o-zone faceoff and the top unit comes on. Nylander gets the puck moving and draws a penalty 54 seconds in.
The power play loses the zone initially, but comes back quick. After a clean entry they move the puck well around the perimeter and get a few quality looks. Tavares misses on a nice look off a feed from Marner.
another in-tight scoring chance for Tavares pic.twitter.com/PBkOmyjK5K— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
Only one shot is registered, but it generated looks.
The third line gets out and does what they do best. End their shift in the offensive zone.
Dryden Hunt sees a shift on the top line with Matthews and Nylander. Not sure if this is just to get him in the game or something is up with Bunting. It’s probably nothing. TV Timeout.
The fourth line takes a shift and they do good fourth line things.
Matthews line comes back out and Bunting is back. After some defensive zone time, the Rielly get the puck to said Bunting who gets Matthews across the line. He feeds Marner who is streaking off the change. Nothing comes off the chance as Marner is hooked by Jake Walman and the Leafs go back to the Power Play.
Marner draws a call dancing in the offensive zone pic.twitter.com/E2dYf4vZJr— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
Then something really weird happens. Matthews has a Red Wing player tangle himself into Auston’s feet and we have a Red Wing Down. Power Play over.
Matthews is called for...I'm not sure pic.twitter.com/01Erm17T3P— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
when Keefe hits you with the "C'mon man!" you know something isn't right lol pic.twitter.com/ewkHYWG3Eb— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
To 4-on-4 we go.
And not really a lot happens. The Leafs have zone time as the Detroit penalty expires and the offending player skates towards the bench...
This one is rough twice over.
The response thus far isn’t much. We’re now under six minutes and still not a lot going on in this game. Shots are 5-1 Red Wings. Yikes.
The third line comes on and doesn’t really do much except keep the puck away from the Red Wings. The top line comes out and spend some time in the offensive zone, look like they might do something, but then don’t.
The Red Wings take a low quality shot and we’ve reached the last TV timeout.
Erne and Engvall mix it up at a center ice face-off following a neutral zone hand pass. If only.
Giordano takes a holding penalty. I was told it was Kampf; it definitely looks like Kampf.
Kampf to the b-— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
oh wait, no Giordano to the box? pic.twitter.com/TZA11ufqEF
The Wings do some wing things and what not, but it doesn’t amount to much. Kerfoot however goes down 1-on-1, pulls the puck between his legs, beats the defender wide and drives hard to the net, taking a cross-check in the back as his front crashes into the net.
Kerfoot busts the moves out and draws a call pic.twitter.com/fZDuHvPkjZ— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
That could have ended worse. With around :30 seconds in the Leafs minor, we have a brief bit of even strength.
The Leafs take to the power play, but don’t get a whole lot done before the period ends.
And I think we could all use a shot of espresso after that period.
It was weird. I don’t think the Leafs necessarily looked bad. Maybe that is a little rosy, but it didn’t feel like the story was a 8-2 shot clock in favor of Detroit. The goal hurt, but it doesn’t feel like there is reason to be concerned. Less penalties for the sake of rhythm would be my assessment, but time will tell.
The period begins and the Leafs take the zone with about :30 seconds remaining off a dump that Marner retrieves. He wheels around and moves the puck out front, but nothing doing. The puck comes up top to Auston Matthews who rips it, but the puck is deflected wide. Good thing too, because it pops over to Marner near the bottom of the circle and he fires it home to tie it up.
The shots are now listed at 8-3. The fourth line takes a shift hoping to keep things rolling, but they get hemmed in for an extended shift. Holmberg ends up out there over two minutes, but the Red Wings don’t come away with any good looks.
The Leafs roll through their lineup without much and the Tavares line is back out. Well... ahem, spoiler alert, then things get interesting. Samsonov makes a beauty save and wouldn’t you know it Tavares gets sprung on a mini break the other way. He makes a smooth deke to deposit the puck around the goalie and the Leafs now have the lead.
great set of passes from the Leafs— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
Giordano to Jarnkrok to Tavares pic.twitter.com/52ZM3SctWD
And now we have some momentum. Shots are 11-5, but we gave up on those after the first right?
11-8 now as Matthews line and another shift of Tavares start to tilt the ice. Both shifts are spent moving the puck quickly through the offensive zone. Their pace is picking up and we’re across the 10:00 mark. I don’t believe we’ve had a TV break yet. I could use one, but they entertainment value from this game just went through the roof.
Shots are 11-10.
Detroit is really just clearing the puck to get changes at this point. As I say that Perron and Larkin come down, but the Leafs have men back and it results in a long shot.
Detroit gets another chance with a shot and some bodies in front, but Samsonov is there.
Tavares goes offside and we go to break.
After the break Detroit comes down and get a good look, but then the Leafs get hosed on another call.
And Detroit is back to the Power Play.
The Leafs do a good job of limiting chances and break up most plays for the first 75 seconds. After that Perron gets a far side look and Detroit does a good job of putting bodies and pucks to the net. Time expires.
The Leafs top line is back up after another break and Bunting is back to mixing it up. He gets a makeup call and now no one needs to get fined after the game.
The top unit moves the puck well and have more than a few opportunities. Matthews drops and rips a one-timer from the slot. It finds netting.... the one that protects the fans. It was headed to the moon.
The second unit sees Bunting ring one off the face of Magnus Hellberg.
With :15 seconds left in the period, Matthews, Marner, and Nylander come out for an offensive zone draw. Not much happened. Leafs had a look, the Wings took it the other way, didn’t attempt a shot. End of period. Shots ended up 18-14 Red Wings.
Much, much better. Toronto dictated most of the play this period and it was refreshing. Penalties broke up the Leaf dominance more than anything else in my opinion. I’m looking forward to the third.
We line up with Tavares & co and the third period is underway.
The puck scoots into the Leaf zone, but hangs out in the corner before going up the other way. It is turned back by the Red Wings however, and they skate down and get a shot in close. It hits the side of the net and that is as much as we get.
I stand corrected.
Kampf gets out there and digs in for the puck and gets his stick held. Not bad.
The Power Play is up with a swap; Morgan Rielly is rejoining the unit and bumping Bunting.
It starts fine enough, but without much high danger activity before this Marner maneuver. Alright I’m done.
the Marner to Matthews connection almost does it pic.twitter.com/zEtvfw97sf— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
Tavares gets called for a trip in the neutral zone and the party is over.
The PK does a good job of wasting lots of time and again limiting any quality looks. At the end of the kill Kerfoot skates the puck up ice as Tavares joins him coming out of the box. Kerfoot makes a nice pass to send Tavares who is denied on a great chance.
Kerfoot throws some sauce at Tavares pic.twitter.com/8CkuQvcrTm— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
The fourth line gets out there and have the puck deep. Rielly gets the puck at the point and funnels it to the front of the net where Holmberg happens to be standing. Oh and the Leafs score. I thought it went straight in, but lets look.
Holmberg gets the credit and I finally see it on the fourth watch.
Detroit isn’t going away without a fight however, and they rush down with another great chance. Samsonov has been sharp since the first goal of the game, keeping his team up by two.
Another shift sees Rasmussen receive a nice look. Samsonov has the answer. 22-22 on the shot clock as we pass the 10:00 minute mark.
Marner skates out to challenge the point in the defensive zone, but blows a tire and comes up a little lame. I thought he was hit by a shot at first glance, but not the case.
Marner looks to be in discomfort after this pic.twitter.com/CRMlynP9cH— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
The Leafs then get this defensive masterpiece from William Nylander.
another steal turned breakaway from Nylander pic.twitter.com/gIpyAgGijj— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
Out of the last break, Marner, Järnkrok and Tavares end up under siege. They give up a good chance, but then Matthews & Nylander come back the other way. Matthews makes a beautiful pass at the blueline over to Nylander. He fires high glove, but Hellberg pulls it down.
quick transition up to Matthews and Nylander— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
With three minutes to go, Detroit pulls the goalie. After some sustained zone time in the corner, Detroit is able to move the puck behind the Leafs net and quickly move it out front. Luckily Marner scoops it up before it finds anyone on the other team.
The Leafs clear, but Detroit comes back the other way. They work the puck around, but the Leafs hold and the puck is lifted to center. Marner makes a quick kick with his heel as the puck comes down and directs it to Tavares who skates down 1-on-1.
JOHN TAVARES— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 8, 2023
Soccer assist from Marner pic.twitter.com/kAuLS413VX
What a great play and nice way to put this one to bed.
Engvall makes a play off the half-wall to Kerfoot coming down and he nearly makes it 5-1. And without a whole lot else to report the game winds down to expiration.
That was nice. There were some gaffs in there, but overall it was a fine game. Maybe a little slow during the first, but not terrible. Shots ended up 29-23 Leafs.
Time to hit the showers, get on the plane, and head to Philly.