New lines tonight:
Pontus Holmberg - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Matthew Knies - John Tavares - William Nylander
Tyler Bertuzzi - Max Domi - Calle Järnkrok
Bobby McMann - David Kämpf - Noah Gregor
Well then. Remember when the meme was the Leafs don't start on time? Not tonight. Twenty-seven seconds in:
That's the Oilers' good defensive pair, by the way.
And then the Domi line almost scores against the Oilers' shutdown line!
That is so close to a goal.
Joooooones. Big save while the Leafs fourth line is getting McDavid-ed.
Unsurprisingly Toronto takes a penalty. Jones with another big stop before the Leafs touch the puck.
Bobby McMann to the box.
Leafs don't clear the puck for an entire minute. Edmonton's PP2 is not great, and the Leafs have no trouble.
Leafs having a very difficult time getting out of the zone and then anywhere but right back in it.
Evander Kane helps John Tavares to slide right into Stuart Skinner, dumping him in the net and interrupting the first Leafs offensive cycle in quite a while.
Matthews nearly gets Holmberg a goal, but Skinner just gets there in time.
This feels like the Kings game, fast, hard battles, non-stop action. A lot of people didn't see that game because it was on so late, but it was the single impressive part of the Leafs California trip.
However, Martin Jones is the only reason the Leafs aren't well behind. Leafs are getting bowled over in Expected Goals, five-on-five and massively in all-situations.
Leafs have to find a way to make a zone exit count. The number of times they lost control before the red line was alarming.
Nylander with a breakaway in the first minute, gets a post.
Darnell Nurse takes a penalty for cross-checking, and he tries to claim Tavares is diving. Which is, technically speaking, horseshit. Lots of shots, but no joy for the Leafs on the PP.
Simon Benoit with a dreadful pass to Jake McCabe and then dives like, er, a diver to keep Connor Brown from every scoring another goal.
Leafs get a fourth-line chance and bang at a loose puck until everyone is crashing on top of Skinner. It's in, eventually, but no goal.
I was just remarking to myself on the speed and concentration on the zone exit and the quick move up the ice, and Mo decides to score on this play to celebrate that.
Oh my god, Zach, why you gotta be like this? Hyman now has sick hands, apparently. He undresses Brodie and just pops it over Jones.
Or not? Leafs challenge for offside, and they are almost always right about that. Leafs are correct, no goal.
Knies gets the stick knocked out of his hands and enacts the choice to "stand still and complain about injustice or get on with the job." He gets on with the job soon enough, barely, but it's a sign of a thing he needs to learn. It's not about you or that guy or the ref, it's about where the puck is right now.
Booo. Leon Draisaitl gets one that counts.
Jones doesn't have time to get tight to the post as he was cheating right.
This is a Pontus Holmberg appreciation paragraph. I love this guy. I have enjoyed his play for years, and I would have never predicted this game, his play and how legit he looks. But I should have. He's played every position in Sweden: fourth line, third-line grinder, third-line scoring, top line, centre, PK, PP, wing. He understands all of those roles. (Like Järnkrok) And I should have realized that if you put him on a scoring line, he'll play differently to how he plays the fourth line.
Never, ever, send him down.
Meanwhile, despite one early successful shift, the $10+ million Domi line is getting stomped. By the fourth line. Matthews line losing the matchup to the middle six. But a better period overall for the Leafs even with only a deficit of three in Corsi.
The shutdown line tie the game.
Tied at 2 all
That overhead shot is damning. Bad, bad defensive play from the Domi line, who seem to have Knies now, not Järnkrok, who is out with Tavares and Nylander.
Matthews takes a big hit from Kane, and Tavares finishes his shift, but Matthews comes out as normal on the next go.
This is a playoff game in intensity.
Kane gets a chance where Jones is stuck on the post and can't push off and Kane misses. Kämpf gets a shot back the other way.
Knies was semi-benched in the second period, and seems to not be anywhere at the moment again.
Fourth line gets some zone time, and then the McDavid line hems in Matthews really hard.
There it is. McDavid and a new set of wingers against the still-pinned Matthews line.
It's not a third-line goal, but it is a third-liner goal.
Leafs pull the goalie, but Evan Bouchard gets the ENG.
Goals early might make you think you're winning, but the Leafs were outplayed all game, it was only ever a question of degree period to period.
A very valiant effort, and an amazing performance by Jones, but it wasn't enough.
Next game is Calgary on Thursday. Another 9 pm start.