The Maple Leafs continue their US road trip with a game tonight against the Dallas Stars. We’re looking for a solid win after the debacle on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers. Here’s my reaction to this game as it unfolded.

Jack Campbell is in net for the Leafs and Scott Wedgewood in net for the Stars. Auston Matthews is looking to pass Rick Vaive’s scoring record with one more goal tonight.


First Period

Matthews looks hungry to score to start the game, it’s his 400th game on the Leafs tonight, however he can’t quite get a good angle to shoot though, and the Stars are all over him when he’s out, but he’s really persistent here. He wants the record.

Nylander gets the first look at Wedgewood for the Leafs with a wraparound attempt which looked really fun but had no chance of working.

Blackwell gets the next opportunity but he comically trips.

The Stars really are all over Matthews, with Roope Hintz saying hello up close with a hit, but Matthews eventually gets a shot off. The Leafs are keeping possession in the Stars zone nicely, but still having trouble getting off shots, but Tavares finally gets a nice one on Wedgewood.

OK please do not bonk our goalies, Stars. We have almost none left. The net comes off in the sequence where Campbell gets hit, but they let play continue and then Nylander scores on the rush back to the Stars net. It’s an odd sequence, and the officials discuss it for a few seconds but decide it’s all good as the Leafs net being off the mooring doesn’t matter.

The Stars quickly get one back and tie up the game. Tyler Seguin recovered a puck that the Stars drove deep into the Leafs zone and he managed to get a shot to trickle past Campbell. I’m not surprised it was Seguin as he has been really buzzing this game.

The Leafs are keeping up the pressure on the Stars but they seem to be spending a lot of time behind the Stars net before passing it back to the blue line and taking a shot from there.

After the officials fix a problem with the game clock, the Leafs wind up on the penalty kill when Lyubushkin slashes Raffl who goes down at the boards and possibly injures his hand.

The Leafs kill the penalty with Campbell notably making several saves including one he didn’t even know he made.

The Leafs get a chance when a shot by Marner goes under Wedgewood, but he quickly realises what is happening and falls backwards to smother the puck. It’s actually a pretty good panic move by him to prevent a goal.

As the period winds up the Leafs get a 6 on 5 when there’s a delayed penalty and Matthews is just dancing around the Stars for a good 30 seconds.

He eventually spots Marner near the net and blasts it toward him, but the puck gets lost in traffic in front of the net. Matthews has another two great shots on Wedgewood to end the period. The Leafs will have more power play time to start the second.

Second Period

Well that power play quickly becomes a 5 on 3 with the Stars taking a puck over glass penalty. The Leafs keep Wedgewood busy with some nice shots by Matthews, but the power play winds down without a goal.

The Leafs are all over the Stars zone with possession this period, and it’s put to good use as they keep finding holes in the Stars defence to get to the slot with the puck. T.J. Brodie takes advantage this time, sailing to the net unopposed, for a great scoring chance.

12:00 left in the second period and SOG are 23-8 for the Leafs. The Stars simply can’t get control of the puck to clear it out of their zone. When they finally do the Leafs pick the puck right off of them and go turn right around back to the Stars net.

I do have a sinking feeling that something Leafy will happen and the Stars will score on like the one shot they get in the period and it will be a big stinker missed by Campbell. The Stars do finally get some time in the Leafs zone and fortunately my fears do not come to pass.

It’s frustrating this game is still 1-1 given how much time the Leafs have with the puck here. Even Muzzin is getting off shots now from close up to the Stars net.

With 2:30 left we might finally get some movement on the scoreboard with Tavares tripped giving the Leafs a power play.


The Leafs are still only up one goal though despite the shots-on-goal being 32-11 in favour for the Leafs. I’m still worried about that stinker goal getting past Campbell. We’ll see what happens.

Third Period

Muzzin decides to shake things up to start this period taking a hooking penalty—though it’s rather questionable—and the Leafs go on the penalty kill.

No problem though with Campbell making some big saves the Leafs kill off the penalty. Blackwell even gets a short-handed chance.

The Stars are still chasing here and then there’s that goal I was worried about. It was a great shot by Klingberg. This is so frustrating as it feels like the Leafs should be up 4-2 here now, not facing a tie game.

The crowd is now singing Bon Jovi. The Stars certainly have been livin’ on a prayer this game and hopefully that’s the last one answered.

With ten minutes left this game is getting fast and chippy. This is actually pretty good hockey right now, and on that topic, GOAL!

Rielly puts the Leafs back up 3-2 with a great pass from Marner.

6:30 to go and the Leafs just need to keep the Stars off balance but it doesn’t work out and the Stars tie it up again. This game is so Leafy and so is this goal.

The Starts are putting on a lot of pressure here and suddenly the Leafs can’t clear out the puck, which, this is the worst possible time to have this problem, Leafs.

The Stars get one more run in the dying seconds by Campbell is there to make the stop.


Every time I do a recap of a late game it goes to OT and usually a shootout. Let’s see what happens tonight.

Jason Robertson is out for 3-on-3 and that is scary. He looks so good with the puck. Thank you to Campbell for keeping it out of the Leafs net so that...

Matthews ends it with goal #56. What a way to cap off the night

Final Thoughts

Auston Matthews, folks. That’s the story of the night. 400 NHL games, breaking the Rick Vaive record, and now four goals away from 60. Incredible. Getting the two points after the debacle in Sunrise on Tuesday is nice too, but, as noted I can’t believe they had to take this game all the way to OT to get the win. Shots-on-goal were 41-18 for the Leafs, though at 5v5 it was only 27-14, but the Leafs spent so much time in the offensive zone it felt like something more should have happened. It was a very Leafy game.

In either case, that’s the last time the Leafs will see the Stars this hockey season... unless... well let’s get through the first round first before thinking about that.