We said all day in the lead-up to this game that it didn't matter. It's the second half of a back to back against a non-playoff team and the Leafs have nothing to play for but their health. Mitch Marner, Mark Giordano, and Jake McCabe all sat to rest and a trio of Marlies came up to fill in the roles. Everything was covered in bubble wrap. And then guess what happened? We forgot about the goaltenders.

Matt Murray

"Oh no, he's so injury prone!" Except when he gets charlie-horsed from behind by Lucas Raymond and hits his head on the ice. Murray had to leave the game and didn't return.

Ilya Samsonov

Sammy was forced into the net after having played the night before. Totally something goalies can do, just not ideal when the point is to rest the Game #1 starter. At some point in the second period, Samsonov was making a save with his right arm but came away favouring it. He stayed in the game and made some excellent saves with that glove later on, but the fear was already fully set in the minds of Leafs Nation.

How could this happen?

Butwhattabout Joseph Woll? Reasonable question. He has come up to backup one of the two starters for stretches in the season. That would've been a good idea for this game, too, except the Leafs ran out of cap space to bring him up. With Erik Gustafsson away from the team for personal reasons and the Leafs sitting two of their regular defenders (a good idea by all accounts), they played all six of their remaining defenders in the game. To make a full lineup they called up three forwards and played all 12 that were available with Mitch Marner, Ryan O'Reilly, and Bobby McMann out. With all those changes the Leafs only had $300k in cap space left and Woll can't fit under that.

So the calculation was either the Leafs compromise on 17 skaters in order to have a third goalie when both regulars were completely fine, or do with what they did. It's hindsight to think the first idea was the way to go.

Michael Bunting

Bunts didn't get injured in this game, thankfully, but after this game the referees are going to put a target on his back as someone that can't make the zebras look bad. He didn't really do much in this game, but he was seemingly made as the centre of attention all night. He got a penalty for getting cross checked, and a 10-minute misconduct for carrying a stick away after the period was over.

I'll caveat this by saying no one off the ice knows what Bunting has been saying to his opponents or the refs, but from what we can see it just looks like the refs are tired of him like a parent telling a toddler to do some quiet reading for an hour.

All I'll say is keep your head down, Bunts. Save it for the playoffs. And if you get suspended for the entire series at least make it count. I don't condone violence, though violence is a lot of what the playoffs are, so...

The Game

Inconsequentially, the Leafs lost 5-2 to the Detroit Red Wings. Calle Järnkrok and John Tavares scored for Toronto, their 19th and 33rd goals of the season. Morgan Rielly (24 minutes), Auston Matthews (23), William Nylander (22), Tavares (20), and Justin Holl (20) all played more than 20 minutes, but four of those minutes were power play time for the first four. Holl led the Leafs in 5v5 icetime on the second pair with TJ Brodie.

Nick Abruzzese got his first career assist in the first period in his first game with the team this season and his 10th career NHL game. Other notable performances include Radim Zohorna, who I might want to call Moose? I'm not sure if he'll keep up against high-paced playoff hockey, but he did pretty well in this low-stakes game.

The Leafs ran away with the score effects by the end of the game, finishing the game with 70 shots to 47, but when you account for score effects, it goes down to 52% CF. The Leafs also led in xG 4-3, but again it was much closer when you adjust for the score.

Leafs Goals