Columbus Blue Jackets at Toronto Maple Leafs
8:00PM ET - Scotiabank Arena, Toronto Bubble
Watch: HNIC, TVA Sports, NHLN, FS-O
Opponents: Jackets Cannon
This game will be available on CBC GEM:
Are you playing, or are you out?
That’s the question tonight.
If the Leafs decide they want to play then they’ll have a pretty good chance to survive another day. If they put in a performance like we saw last night, then it’s through the doors of the Royal York for them. No more bubble hockey for you.
There won’t be a practice for the Leafs tomorrow, but we should get something, anything, from the team during morning skate before the game at 8pm. For now, here’s what Sheldon Keefe and Mitch Marner had to say for themselves after the game last night.
Keefe on #Leafs D: “I thought that as a team we didn’t help our defence, and our defence didn’t help itself.”— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) August 7, 2020
Keefe on #Leafs: “I didn’t like our game at 1-0, 2-0, 3-0. We got what we deserved. We didn’t have any purpose or plan to our game.”— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) August 7, 2020
Marner: “Just erase it. We’ve been bouncing back all year. When things don’t go our way, we’ve always showed up the next day and played out hearts out, It’s a quick turnaround, they’ll want to finish us out, we have to make sure we’re playing smart, playing from above."— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) August 7, 2020
There were two completely different teams on the ice last night. One team that was confident with the puck and eager to push the play forward and to the net. And then a second evil twin that was almost afraid to move their feet and didn’t show any cohesiveness or structure.
I agree with Keefe in that the defense was a wild mess for much of the game. No one should be surprised when it’s comprised of Morgan Rielly, Cody Ceci, Justin Holl, Travis Dermott, Tyson Barrie, and Martin Marincin — the six most “wild mess” defensemen in the NHL. Way too jumpy, way too late on pucks. They make big moves, miss, and then can’t scramble back clean enough to stop the play that’s moved past them. That’s them, that’s their DNA, and it’s been impossible for the Leafs to hide it without complete coverage from the forwards to support.
And as for the forwards, no one seems to like skating the moment the other teams starts playing with the puck. It’s all watching, coasting, and hoping the puck bounces to you so you can fling it off in a random direction because you have no idea where anyone else drifted off to.
Play Frederik Andersen tonight. Play him on Sunday. Play him until he can go back home and chill on a coach until next season.
Some final numbers, the Leafs produced shots at a rate of 62 shot attempts per 60 minutes in Game 1, 71 in Game 2, and 60 in Game 3. Expected goals: 1.87, 4.62, 2.26. The gigantic blob of shooting death in the middle of the Blue Jackets zone disappeared in the second period and never showed up again in Game 3. They were shooting a lot more from the wings on top of the volume going down massively. If the Leafs get pushed to the edges again and have to settle for worse shots, it’s over. Don’t let it be over.
Maple Leafs lines
From Thursday’s Game
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
William Nylander – John Tavares – Ilya Mikheyev
Nick Robertson – Alex Kerfoot – Kasperi Kapanen
Kyle Clifford – Pierre Engvall – Jason Spezza
Scratched: Andreas Johnsson – Frederik Gauthier
Travis Dermott – Justin Holl
Morgan Rielly – Cody Ceci
Martin Marincin – Tyson Barrie
Scratched: Rasmus Sandin – Timothy Liljegren
Injured: Jake Muzzin
Blue Jackets lines
From Thursday’s Game
Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Vladislav Gavrikov - David Savard
Ryan Murray - Markus Nutivaara
Scratched: Scott Harrington - Dean Kukan
Elvis Merzlikins - Starter
I hope we don’t have to talk about next year this time tomorrow. Because I have a long list of changes I’d like to make and no one wants to hear them.
From today’s media availability with Sheldon Keefe:
Sheldon Keefe says #Leafs are discussing some shifts to the lineup for Game 4, but "we're not going to talk about that now."— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) August 7, 2020
Keefe: "Need to get back to what we did in Games 1 and 2. One goal against set us up for success. Unable to get it (last night), but today's a new day."— Lance Hornby (@sunhornby) August 7, 2020
Sheldon Keefe on mental toughness: "A lot of the work for situations like this doesn't come into just what you say or do today. We've talked about [it] & the need to push through when things are difficult. The work for that is done in advance. We get a chance today to utilize it"— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) August 7, 2020
More Keefe: "Certainly once we had the lead that should have been over, if we had the right mindset and mentality and played with the purpose that we've been talking about on the bench and in our TV timeouts and in the intermission. We weren't able to get it there."— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) August 7, 2020