Pre-game we discuss a lot of Ovechkin, but also other notable goal-scorers in the NHL today. With Tampa playing in Montreal tonight, Stamkos gets an easy highlight as one of the best goal scorers of the era. It is a shame how much of his career has been spent injured. Here’s to health.
Matthews has the highest goale rate per game since his amongst all players since his Rookie year. Bieksa talks about him being due for a heater. His 15 goals in 31 games do seem rather pedestrian. He had scored one goal in six of seven games before coming up empty in the last two. Maybe is is just me, maybe it was the Marner streak or team streak, but I just don’t feel like he’s actually is done warming-up for the season. He is overdue for an early season statement game.
Boston is 24-4-2 after winning earlier today. Santa, you know what to do.
And with that we land at the top of the hour. Go Leafs Go.
Shoutout to the guy in the Marlies jersey. I’m happy you seem so welcoming to that lady in the Ovechkin jersey.
the @TorontoMarlies getting love pic.twitter.com/OqDIJoV0aP— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
The Caps take an early advantage and generate a look.
The streak might be over, but Marner is going right back to work.
this block took a bite out of Marner— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
great one but it hurt pic.twitter.com/zxFdAdjV3q
The Leafs begin to compose themselves and both teams start the early game posturing.
My appreciate for the third line has swelled over the last few games.
Engvall stops up and leaves it for Kampf who takes the puck to the net pic.twitter.com/qkJnpSNkT9— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
They’ve been playing with speed and always seem to either be moving the puck up ice or in the offensive zone.
After that though, Ovi watch starts heating up with some buzzing from his line.
Sheary can't complete the passing play— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
Leafs catch a break pic.twitter.com/jWzGdiNU68
The Leafs take the puck up the ice and Marner is gifted an empty net. It didn’t go well.
Marner had an open side off the slapshot from Timmins pic.twitter.com/skdBsAObxd— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
The pace of play picks up a notch and things get a little looser. The fourth line comes out for another shift, but the puck ends up deep in the Leaf end. Milano picks up the puck in the corner and tries a tight angle shot. Samsonov stops it, but a tighter rebound somehow gets chipped over his pad.
0-1 for Washington.
Erik Gustafsson ends Samsonov's shutout streak pic.twitter.com/ZZId336h0L— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
Things are really opening up now.
Kampf and the boys set up Kerfoot with two quality opportunities on a nice shift. They’ve looked quite dangerous the last few games.
The top line comes on and attempts to keep up the pressure. Auston Matthews takes it out of the corner and hits Nylander at the top of the circle with a pass.
WILLIAM NYLANDER 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
STYLIN SLAPPER! pic.twitter.com/BfO89vFD0F
1-1 hockey game.
The next shift, Nylander takes a pass from the defensive end and is sprung on a partial break. He comes flying down on the goalie, but is denied.
The teams get a change going and the Capitals bring things back the other way. Trevor van Riemsdyk, brother of James, takes the puck down the half wall and puts it toward the net.
1-2 for Washington
Trevor van Reimsdyk scores— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
shot was deflected off Giordano's stick pic.twitter.com/BaI09eFKhK
Ovechkin has another great opportunity with 4:00 to go in the first, but is unable to connect.
Out of the break, Matthews ends up out for an extended shift with Engvall and Kerfoot. They dominate play and move the puck around the offensive zone generating a few looks. Nylander and Bunting get out with Matthews and keep the pressure up as the Caps players go over 1:30 on their shifts. Matthews takes a dish below the goal line from Brodie and quickly moves it out front for Willy who rips another one-timer. To no avail this time.
A short while later the Caps take a penalty, sticking poor Malgin in the face, with 1:27 to go and the new PP goes to work. If you don’t know, it is now a five forward unit with Bunting replacing Sandin and Marner playing up top.
With 30 seconds remaining in the period, the puck squirts out of the zone. Marner doesn’t quite make it to the puck and it is poked past him, forcing a dangerous 2-on-1.
clutch save by Samsonov on the shorthanded chance pic.twitter.com/EsCw3BhEOk— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
The period ends and that probably isn’t the worst thing.
I don’t feel great about the start. It was a sloppy opening and the home team pick up too much steam. After the first Capitals goal, the Leafs picked up the pace and it looked like they started moving their legs. The second Capitals goal was really unfortunate. Toronto was on the cusp of really breaking through in the game. With the puck getting tipped, its hard to blame the goalie, but it hurt.
There will be 0:33 seconds remaining on the PP to start the next period.
And with that said, we start the second. The extra PP time expires without much action.
The Tavares line regroups and comes out. Marner tries to get the puck moving out of the defensive zone, but the puck goes past both Sandin and Malgin turning the puck the other way. Kuznetsov get the puck up the boards and makes a terrific backhand pass across the slot.
1-3 for Washington.
Erik Gustafsson does it again— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
3-1 Capitals pic.twitter.com/F7K1uxgzMW
The Leafs get a decent shift from the third line before sending Tavares, Marner and Matthews out. They’re able to maintain some offensive zone time and possession, but never look terribly threatening.
The fourth line grinds out a scoring chance, but not much else.
Matthews comes out next and decids to fire one toward the net from the middle of four Caps. And this might just be what the doctor ordered.
AUSTON MATTHEWS 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
The half slapper brings em within one pic.twitter.com/soUSO7R1UO
2-3, and the gap narrows.
There isn’t a whole lot more before commercial, but the top line comes back on after the break and goes to work. Justin Holl takes it down the side and drives the net before having it knocked away. Giordano takes advantage of a turnover and leads the rush back the other way.
Giordano breaks up the rush in the neutral zone and tries to go five-hole on Lindgren pic.twitter.com/dVPxyV3ZCL— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
Ovechkin take a good look at Timmins before dumping him into the bench. The crowd in Washington absolutely loves it. Poor Timmins.
Ovechkin sent Timmins into the Capitals bench pic.twitter.com/pqTmgs9VB8— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
Marner picks up the puck off a turnover at the top of the circles and dishes down to Tavares; he cuts to the net alone but is unable to elevate the puck over the leg of Lindgren.
The third line takes another shift, spending quality time in the offensive zone. With less than 6:00 in the period they buzz around the zone and develop another chance from in close.
Auston looks like he is in a groove. It looks like things are starting to bounce his way. They tilt the ice, but then change. The Leafs have kept some decent momentum since their second goal.
Kerfoot and Kampf combine for a nifty touch play and sneaky scoring chance.
Down at the other end, Sandin puts it out front of the Leafs net creating all sorts of chaos and mayhem. Not a good play.
With under 1:30 the Caps break down against the Tavares line, but it amounts to nothing. The Leafs take it back up the ice and achieve the same result.
The period casually comes to an end.
It almost got real ugly there when they went down by two, but overall, much better period. The Leafs controlled most of the play and didn’t allow much going back the other way, third goal not withstanding. The turnovers hurt and have caused problems tonight, but it hasn’t put the game out of reach. Clean up the big obvious mistakes the third should be better.
Here we go...
Sadly, I’m not even sure what happened.
2-4 for Washington with 19:50 remaining in the period.
The Leafs turnover the puck at their own blue line following the opening face-off. The Caps rush down, but get tied up. Unfortunately the trailer does not.
Garnett Hathaway makes it 4-2 pic.twitter.com/iaTIZTWm1J— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
That one takes some wind out of the sails.
Holl gets his helmet punched off. Neat no call.
The Caps look to extend the lead and keep the pressure up. Samsonov makes a nice save on Kuznetsov to prevent further bloodshed.
Kuznetsov gets another another beautiful look, but is denied. The Caps keep the pressure up and move it around top. The Great #56 sneaks down the left side once more and shelfs his third of the game. Erik Gustafsson ladies and gentlemen.
Erik Gustafsson completes the hat-trick pic.twitter.com/zjLk1yVBhh— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 18, 2022
Kerfoot plays footsie in the corner with Ovechkin and gets called for a trip.
Cheers from the crowd demand Ovi score this Power Play. They work it around and look for opportunities to find him. He bombs one slap shot that power play.
13:00 now remain in the period and the top line is back out. They haven’t had much time this period and look fresh. Nylander and Bunting team up for a chance in tight.
Timmins take a dish from Bunting and fires his own one-timer, but misses the net.
With 9:50 to go, the top line comes out for an offensive zone draw. They generate a chance and another shift. Then Auston tries to drive the net alone and draws a penalty. Let’s see if it is enough to carry them through to success on the PP.
This is by far the most dangerous the Leafs PP has looked as they generate several high quality looks. They are quickly making one or two passes and getting an opportunity. Whether it is the puck or bodies, they are cycling throughout the offensive zone. They maintain possession through several opportunities before the puck is turned over and fired down the ice.
The second unit gets a look, but doesn’t have time for much else. The post PP line gets out and keeps pace attacking, but Lindgren gets in the way.
With just under 6:00 minutes the Capitals finish up a dominant shift in the Leafs end where Samsonov just gets a toe on a cross crease pass. He definitely saves a goal, but time is dwindling.
Leafs ice the puck and Ovechkin goes over the boards. They are able to maintain extended zone time, but not much excitement otherwise.
Kerfoot and Engvall are still playing like this is a 0-0 hockey game. It certainly isn’t bad to see.
Bunting tries to take a pass at Garnet Hathaway who blocks. Bunting gets mad and swing at the back of his head. He gets called. And that certainly isn’t good to see.
With 2:02 left in the game and a full powerplay, we are back watching #8.
Not much to see as time ticks down. With 10 seconds left, I eat my words and Mantha tries to send one across to Ovechkin, but the pass gets away. The third mercifully comes to a close.
The opening of the third was really a dagger. There were good opportunities past that, but nothing good enough to break through. It took me down a notch, that’s for sure.
Over the past two games there have been situations where the Leafs have been tested. They haven’t found a way to bounce back just yet, but they will need to find a way to dig in against better teams in tough situations. The good news is they have another great chance to get things right before the holidays. Tampa is up next on Tuesday. Yay?