First Period

The lines:

  • Auston Matthews starts (Pontus Holmberg and William Nylander)
  • Next up is Max Domi (Mitch Marner and Tyler Bertuzzi)
  • John Tavares steps out (Calle Järnkrok, Nick Robertson)
  • David Kämpf is next (Matt Knies, Noah Gregor).

What happened?

Detroit got one shot and TJ Brodie made a good defensive play on Dylan Larkin.

The Leafs get a power play on the next second line shift.

Samsonov has to make a save on Larkin and, well, he got the puck under control eventually. Leafs with two SOG.

Pontus Holmberg checked Patrick Kane earlier and the broadcast announces he's gone to the dressing room.

Kane also tripped over Holmberg at net front and landed hard.

Holmberg draws a holding penalty and the Leafs go to the power play again.

Bertuzzi takes a penalty for ... something. I thought it was playing hockey, but I'll wait for the replay.

Leafs PK is just denying the Red Wings entries and making them look like fools.

Samsonov had to make some saves, and I'll cop to be terrified by how he's moving.

Detroit takes another penalty, so I can only conclude they are scared of the Leafs' new lines. Detroit with a very good shorty chance.

A two-on-Timmins ends when the Red Wings fan on a shot, so the hockey gods are enjoying the Leafs making the game interesting, and showing their favour.


So how did the new lines fare?

The shots (Corsi) at five-on-five were even, and the Red Wings got a lot more going shorthanded than the Leafs did on their power plays.

Second Period

Wooo hooo. Holmberg tips in a beauty. Some fellow with number 34 did some work along the boards.

1-0 Leafs

Samsonov with a stop, a rebound straight out into play followed by another great save. I'm not sure if that's good or scary, but the outcome was helpful.

Marner, who has six shots (Corsi) already, gets a chance from a decent location for the first time. Reimer freezes it.

Other than Marner, no one on the Leafs are shooting much, stymied by the Detroit defence.

Morgan Rielly takes a penalty (should be Nylander) for hooking Joe Veleno on a rush. Nylander says thanks with a shorthanded try.

Okay. Not saying that's a Sammy classic, but it looked like one. It's also a lot of dumb Leafs defending badly.

This was the positioning that got Samsonov criticized earlier in the season, but that is the correct position for that situation, and Larkin just makes a great shot with the puck.

Tie Game

Timmins almost scores, and then at the other end Benoit has to make a save off his own deflection behind a sprawling Samsonov.

Oh, that's beautiful. Marner isn't shooting from the weeds on this baby:

2-1 Leafs

Fastest Leafs player to 600 points at 548 games played, a record he will hold for a very short period of time. Matthews has 590 points in 520 games played.


Considering no one has practiced with these lines, the Leafs are working up to a good game as they go, and that's impressive.

Ice time for the centres at five-on-five per NST

  • Matthews: 8:15
  • Domi: 7:52
  • Tavares: 6:52
  • Kämpf: 7:25

Third Period

Rielly breaks his stick on a shot and then has to defend the counter rush. Daniel Sprong wins the one-on-one with Samsonov handily.

Tie Game

This game is suddenly end-to-end high-octane chaos.

Tavares is really struggling in this period, not keeping to the pace and turning the puck over too easy to faster Detroit players.

With five minutes to go, the pace of the game has fallen, and the closer to the horn, the less anyone is willing to risk.

Samsonov with a killer save with 2 minutes to go.

The crowd goes into a Sammy chant, but it's stopped by the time a turnover goes in.

3-2 Detroit

Leafs pull Samsonov, and he didn't get the redemption game he wanted, but this wasn't a bad goaltending performance.

Wings with an ENG to seal the deal.

Detroit led for a minute and a half, but that's all they needed.


Now that I've seen them, the weirdest part of these lines was that Mitch Marner was 1,000% into this game, and he was never playing with anyone who would shoot it. His goal was wonderful, but he can't be your primary scorer.

As long as you're playing the Red Wings, Pontus Holmberg looks like Zach Hyman.

Turnovers. Maple Glazed Turnovers. That's what the Leafs served up. That and a fairly tepid offence that – stop me if you've heard this – struggled with the defensive discipline of a mediocre team.