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First Period

So, full disclosure. We had a scheduling snafu, and I was watching the Marlies, goofing around online, eating supper and discussing my rights to my keyboard with a cat. I didn’t really watch all that much of this period.

The first goal went to the Leafs, and was ordained by the gods of mischief. With Trevor Moore knocking Kasperi Kapanen off the top line, the question is: Who is better. And now we know the answer: Both of them together.

This is a sweet goal, and there’s nothing like dinging a team with a shorty in their arena.

That came on a power play for the Capitals that was the doing of Morgan Rielly when he tripped Brendan Leipsic, who also laid a hell of hit on William Nylander. I guess he has some scores to settle from the old days. Anyhow, obviously Mo needs to take more dumb penalties.

The next goal is Ilya on Ilya action. If I had the time, I’d dig up how often our Ilya, who played for Avangard in the East, met their Ilya Samsonov, who played for Metallurg, also in the East.  But this begins with a stretch pass, so viewer discretion is advised, but it’a also from Kappy, who fits really well with Alexander Kerfoot and Mickey.

The Leafs basically controlled the play after that goal for a long stretch, and then a fluke of a play caused a turnover, John Carlson made a lovely pass, and no one had Jakub Vrana covered:

The period finished up 2-1 Maple Leafs as absolutely no one predicted.

The Marlies are playing the Washington farm team tonight, and Hardev will recap that later for you, but Kenny Agostino is back, has the first goal, so that’s good news for fans of depth rotation.

The Corsi ended up heavily in favour of the Capitals based on two strong pushes from them, one at the end of the period after their goal. When you score adjust it, it’s 25 to 20 for the Capitals.

Playing high-event isn’t as much in the Leafs favour as it was last night, but you can’t suddenly become a boring team just for one game.

And someone has a bigger research budget than I do:

Second Period

Well, Mo. Maybe don’t listen to me, eh? Rielly takes a penalty defending Garnet Hathaway when he takes Hathaway’s feet out from under him.

It’s hard to be sure so early in the season, but the Leafs PK, which is still aggressive, looks more organized and planned, less chaotic. Mickey gets a bit of rush chance to prove me right.

Ah damn. That was, wait, what? In or out? Moore flubs a pass from Marner (that no other human [other than Jeremy Bracco] would ever make) at the very end of the PK, and the Caps get a shot that the post saved. That was close. I can’t believe that wasn’t in.

Oh, but the next one is well in. Beautiful play by Evgeny Kuznetsov ties this up.

More John Carlson on this goal against a Leafs team tired at the end of a shift.

Tie Game 2-2.

Okay, now I’m annoyed. Rielly can’t handle his man all the way, and this was just easy.

3-2 for the Capitals

And now the Leafs take a penalty while under pressure. The Leafs are buckling under massive pressure, and Michael Hutchinson has been alternately hung out to dry and the author of his own problems with his AHL rebounds.

Yeah, so bad to worse. Cody Ceci knocks the puck over the glass, and it’s a five-on-three for almost two full minutes. No pressure, Hutch.

Well that was bound to go in as Carlson just does it himself this time:

4-2 Capitals.

Remember the first period, when this game was fun. Would you be upset if I go back to the Marlies? The Caps are on the PP for over a minute yet, however.

The ref does Hutchinson a favour with a too-quick whistle on a puck he does not have control of. That should have been the Capitals’ fifth goal.

This game isn’t even half over.

Oh, hey, Auston Matthews. I remember this line. I feel like I’ve been watching Moore and no one else all period.

The Kerfoot line gets some chances for the only bright spot in about 15 minutes of game time. Kappy is perfect on that line, and when Hyman’s back, this team will be nicely balanced.

Samsonov is looking beatable, if the Leafs can get shots in on him, they can even up this game. The Marlies are on goalie number two against the Bears.

I don’t think Matthews is going to be thrilled with this game. He’s given the puck away on ill-conceived passes about three times in two minutes.

Nice little flurry from the Leafs at the end that the Capitals survive by shot blocking.

The Capitals owned the Leafs in that period, but the Corsi is now dead even, even with score adjusting as the Leafs came back strong from disaster.

Third Period

Ilya Mikheyev comes oh-so-close to getting another goal. He’s on fire in this game, and he starts this period on the Tavares line with Moore dropping back to the Kerfoot line, who are also putting on the pressure.

Everyone is good, suddenly.

This is my favourite thing about the Leafs. When it all goes to shit, they usually respond with power.

Matthews with an excellent backcheck to make up for a rare mistake. This period is all Leafs.

Ilya with a hell of a save on an Ilya shot. The follow through hit Kuznetsov in the face, so that’s a thing. Replay shows it was a lazy stick swing post-shot that got Kuznetsov, so our boy gets away with one.

Hutchinson stops and freezes a Carlson shot, but the Leafs are slowly running out of game here. They need a goal.

Matthews takes a penalty defending John Carlson, who has been all three stars in this game for Washington.

I’m nervously watching the power play here, but I want to mention that Justin Holl has been good this game by the eyetest, even if his Corsi is terrible. He’s strung a couple in a row here. He’s got to be ahead of Martin Marincin now for the last spot when Dermott is back.

Leafs with their best chances in a while on a power play, and I hate to say they must score here, but they must score here. The first unit plays most of the time, but they don’t score, and nor does Nylander, who is the second unit all on his own.

Is it too little too late? JT gets the goal on a great pinch by Jake Muzzin.

4-3 with 2:33 to go.

Leafs pull Hutchinson as soon as they can, and they maintain the six-on-five for the full run. No one has done this more than Tyson Barrie, but the Leafs can’t get a good scoring chance. The Capitals take it, but the Leafs fought to the bitter end.

Rough night, met with heart by the tired Leafs.