Welcome to the NHL, Keith, Keith, Keith, Keith!

He might be in the NHL for real next weekend, too, but for now, it’s last year’s surprise hero Erik Källgren who has to step up. He survived a period last night that included a somewhat scary shift late. Can he get the win tonight against Frederik Andersen?

First Period

Things to watch for tonight — the Leafs beat the Bruins by playing faster and better in the neutral zone, while getting their offence moving well. Do it again, you can win again.

Källy with his first save and we all exhale.

Carolina leads in time with the puck early, but no one is working too hard to defend. The first bit of excitement is a William Nylander rush that turns into a rush against when TJ Brodie bobbles the puck. Tame stuff.

Nice defensive interception by Rasmus Sandin. I mention this because he’s been a bit, um, terrible lately. And Timothy Liljegren was absolutely gloriously good vs the Bruins. Now we get to watch them push each other.

Justin Holl takes the first penalty of the game where Jordan Martinook falls really, really easily for such a tough guy.

Falling is in this season, because Carolina scores while Liljegren is barely able to walk after blocking a shot.

1-0 Carollina

And this qualifies as an ex-Leaf goal, because Stefan Noesen played one game for the Leafs.

Liljegren went to the dressing room in the first timeout after this, but he returned fairly quickly.

Denis Malgin with some great looks. He’s still playing like he did against the Bruins.

Calvin DeHaan with a long, long, looooong look from the slot, and every goalie would be ready for that. Källgren copes fine.

The last few minutes are a lot of blueline to blueline play.


  • There isn’t a lot of neutral zone control here from the Leafs.
  • They aren’t California bad, they just got outplayed by an actually good team./

Second Period

The Leafs open the period with the puck a lot. And they never get meaningfully inside the Carolina blueline.

Leafs finally get a chance off the rush.

Michael Bunting, who knows how to suck the life right out of the team when they have almost none, takes a penalty after an icing. No, I’m not a fan of Bunting this season.

The power play is a combination of the Canes shooting wide, and the Leafs PKing very well.

Keefe is stirring up, flipping Matthews and Tavares and then moving Robertson up to play with the new Tavares line.

It’s interesting more than effective at least to begin. But the new Tavares line at least makes Andersen do a little work.

Malgin draws a penalty by just being fast.

In a symbol of how this game is going, the Canes nearly get a shorty, and the Leafs bobble the puck on the ensuing rush back up ice. No dice on this power play.

Instead of playing Malgin up the lineup, Keefe is just playing the fourth line more. Seems to be working.

Andersen has to be incredibly good to battle the Matthews line.

Scoooores! Heh. In the typical irony of hockey, the maligned third line that was unplayed for a few minutes comes out and puts it in the net.

Tie Game


  • That was a great comeback in the second, but the Expected Goals is approximately 3-1 Hurricanes in all-situations.
  • It’s not often a coach makes a bunch of lineup changes and I like them all./

Third Period

The Leafs are letting the Canes do their best to retake the lead, and while Källgren has been great, maybe don’t give Brent Burns six tries at it!

I’m neither surprised, nor upset, that Keefe responds by putting out the fourth line. Malgin gets a rush out of it, because that’s just how it is right now.

Yikes! Källgren almost gives it away when he misplays the puck and can’t find it. But he survives.

Malgin again is the guy with the puck offensively.

Whoooohooooo, expensive guys score!

JT with a beauty here and you know, someone I’ve known for a long time thinks he plays really well with Mitch Marner.

2-1 Leafs!

Mike Johnson mentions how no one has been mentioning Marner this game until now, and that’s very true.

Very good save from Källgren off of a Carolina forward in alone.

So close from Tavares and Robertson, but Andersen uses his stick to say no.

More good stuff from guess who? Go on, guess. (I’ll give you a hint: bad gin.)

Auston Matthews saves a goal!

So, um, someone I know really well thinks Nylander and Matthews work well together.

3-1 Leafs

(That’s Nylander gassed, by the way, we should trade him.)

The Leafs do a good job of controlling the last few minutes, which you like to see.


  • I’d call Denis Malgin first star.
  • Okay, second star after Källgren.
  • (Andersen was pretty bad.)
  • This was a character win by the Leafs./