The Leafs defense was a confused mess in a 6-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators at home. Joseph Woll gave up all six, including three particular stinkers. The defensive pair of John Klingberg and Mark Giordano were a -3 before getting separated in the third period. The forwards were often nowhere to be found, especially when the Leafs were chasing for offense in a game they continued to put themselves behind in.
On the bright side, William Nylander extended his point streak to 13 games. Tyler Bertuzzi scored to tie the game in the second, and Nick Robertson scored his first of the season to tie the game in the third.
The Leafs kicked off the game with Knies going to the box for interference on Norris. The PKers did great to waste time, not letting the Sens get a good chance. They had the better chance when Knies got out of the box with an odd-man rush.
Reciprocally, the Leafs got their own power play quite quickly, Hamonic interfering Bertuzzi. Faceoff, to the point...
13 game point streak for William "Ride the Rocket" Nylander!!! He sniped it perfectly into the corner, past Korpisalo to open the game.
Leafs can't hold a lead because minutes later Kubalik scored with a point shot off a faceoff that deflected off Woll's toe and somehow back into the net as he was trying to kick the puck into the corner. Unlucky goal, but a tie game nonetheless.
The Matthews and Nylander lines were really strong in this period, with both getting a mountain of chances. Here's a quick compilation of them.
I tried not to laugh at this miss.
Matthews robbed by Korpisalo.
Max Domi as the 3C completely struggled to handle the puck in the neutral zone, killing many offensive rushes before they began. His play tonight especially made me miss Alex Kerfoot, who is a safe set of productive hands in the neutral zone.
A good period for the Leafs who deserved better than a 1-1 tie. They had the majority of the dangerous chances and the goal against was an unlucky flub.
John Klingberg is one of those rare players – in the echelon of Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews – who will give you one goal each night. Unfortunately for the Leafs, Klingberg's talent tends to end up with the puck in their own net. Here you can see he trips over the demon entrails of Harold Ballard and forgets to recover as Giroux scored. The Sens were all over the front of the net with the defensive collapse. It's super frustrating to watch Klingberg skate and think in cruise control. His decisions are lackadaisical and he carries no urgency with his play.
Bertuzzi got the monkey off his back with his third of the season, banging home Nylander's rebound to bring the Leafs back to even.
Woll mostly kept up his end of the bargain, but then he also let in a second stinker on the night...
A third goal against for the Klingberg-Giordano pairing. They get overwhelmed down low and Chychrun steps into the slot and scores. Stutzle was left wide open in the corner for the low-high pass as Klingberg and the wingers decided to stop moving and start watching. Reaves was also nowhere near the zone on his side of the defensive end.
Klingberg was demoted to the third pair with Simon Benoit, recreating the Ducks Pair from last season. The fact that the Leafs have a defense pair from one of the worst defensive team in years is very concerning. Lagesson got promoted to play with Giordano on the second pair.
Tie game! Järnkrok battles ferociously to get the puck moving forward, Domi and Robertson speed past on a 2-on-1. The passer, Domi, found a way to get the puck across to Robertson. The shooter, Robertson, found a way to baseball bat the puck in mid-air into the far corner of the net.
Domi has that kind of goal-producing play once every few games – the last one of note was with Matthew Knies. It doesn't excuse the rest of his play, but it's the bet Treliving and Keefe made when acquiring him that the few benefits outweighed the inconsistency for him to make plays.
The Sens get a power play with Brodie in the box for hooking Giroux. Kubalik on the second unit got the goal for centering the pass of Giordano's foot and into the back of the net. A fourth goal against for Giordano in this game (other three were at even strength with Klingberg next to him).
The Leafs gave up another lightning-quick odd man rush, with what looks like zero forwards back and Stutzle scores. Klingberg, Benoit, and the Tavares line completely missing from the play on that one. A back-breaker of a goal after falling behind again.
The third line looked good again with their shift six minutes before the end. Järnkrok again leading the effort with a trio of shots, Robertson and Domi also battling for chances.
Oh no, Joe. Woll comes out of his net, takes too long to move the puck, gets stripped, and ends up on the ice with the puck in his net. A third gaffe of the evening. That'll be the ballgame with less than five minutes left.