First Period

Nick Robertson comes back into the lineup only because Noah Gregor is sick. This game is that proverbial open door that he needs to walk through. This is almost an AHL team the Leafs are playing, and he should be a force to be reckoned with.

First Robertson shift: Max Domi tried to pass to him where he wasn't in the neutral zone, but once they got over the blue line, they had the puck and got no shots off.

Second Robertson shift: Robertson steps on the ice and goes offside. Domi loses the faceoff, and when Järnkrok gets them in the zone, Robertson gets a shot off. They finish their shift in the defensive zone, and Järnkrok ices the puck as he's the last to change.

The Matthews line has to move the puck into the offensive zone, and they do a lot with it in a shift spent entirely shooting at the Sharks goalie.

Third Robertson shift: Robertson starts with a hit in the neutral zone, but the puck heads the wrong way. It's Robertson who carries the puck out and then into the offensive zone, but the single shot is the work of TJ Brodie and Morgan Rielly. Robertson is at the net front for a rebound.

Rielly and Brodie do the same job of running the offence for the fourth line in the offensive zone. And then the wingers change...

Fourth shift: Robertson and Järnkrok work with Kämpf to keep the puck alive, and Domi gets a shot coming in off the bench. The Matthews line gets to come out in the offensive zone on their change.

Leafs really, really want a goal to end the first. And the "activation" of the defence here is really fun. Mark Giordano roaring in to swing around the net after a centring pass is exactly how you make a game like this fun for the fans who paid for it.

Mo gets it done. He's all activated tonight.

1-0 Leafs

Alex Barabanov takes a penalty trying to contain Timothy Liljegren.

I blinked and Matthews scored a very pretty goal. Virtual trick shot, I think he genuinely impressed himself.

2-0 Leafs

Great pass from Marner.

Domi and Järnkrok come out in the final minute but McMann stays out with them until the TV timeout. After, Robertson is jousting at the net, but no one gets any shots off.


Robertson is not helped by Max Domi unless they're on a rush. Robertson goes where he should, he does what he should, and he's handy in the defensive zone right when you need to leave it. He doesn't get a lot pucks sailing his way that he can shoot. Which is the perennial problem of a skilled offensive shooter on a depth line, no matter how much it seems like a good place to play one who can't do top-six.

He's not doing anything wrong. It's just nothing he's doing becomes part of someone else's offence. I think it's worth thinking about what he doesn't do.

Second Period

I am barely sitting down, and Marner is tipping a McCabe shot to make it 3-0 Leafs.

Pontus Holmberg with a very, very pretty one.

4-0 Leafs

That's his SHL style showing up.

Kahkonen exits for MacKenzie Blackwood.

I was going to try to watch Mario Ferraro this period, a potential defenceman on the trade market, but I'm not sure there's much point.

San Jose gets a power play when Simon Benoit gets called for hooking, and they get a really good cycle going. Henry Thrun scores his first ever NHL goal, and 4-1 Leafs.

They can activate the D too!

I've stopped covering every shift, but Robertson was just really good even after Domi made one of those passes to no one he likes.

Robertson again with a shot from a good place, and after the next faceoff, he's jousting at the net again. Two shots on goal from others while he's lurking.

Oh, I love this one. Robertson in the offensive corner getting double-teamed, he gets the puck out and Domi... gives it back to him. He actually doesn't die, though.

And that's that period over.


So Mario Ferraro. He's Jake McCabe, more or less. I don't think the Leafs need him, but if someone got hurt, he'd be very handy because he plays basic defence very, very well. You could play him more minutes than anyone not your top pair, and he'd be good enough.

I'm not sure this is the guy to go spend on to add for the playoffs, though.

Robertson has 9:37 played through two periods, much lower than Domi at five-on-five, and he has four iCF, all scoring chances, one a good one. Compare his .19 ixG to Järnkrok's .17 on half the shots, and you see another issue. Keefe is keeping him away from the Sharks top line, and his on-ice CF% is the best for all forwards.

Oh, and Leafs are at 77% adjusted Corsi.

Third Period

Twenty more minutes, eh?

Jake McCabe:

5-1 Leafs

This defensive chaos of the Sharks makes me like the Leafs efforts more.

Benoit is bleeding rather a lot from the face. Scott Sabourin, put in the game for his "toughness" smacks Benoit right in the face with a careless stick. Leafs get four minutes of PP.

Leafs playing some games with the PP setup, moving Rielly up and using Marner and Matthews as blueliners. It's interesting. Not sure of the point, though.

Oh, okay, that's the point. After they re-set, Nylander was the defender, and Rielly was up on the left side.

6-1 Leafs

Marner again.

Thank you, Guy Boucher for keeping me awake with that trickery.

The second unit tortures Blackwood with a lot of shots, and then NICK ROBERTSON gets rewarded for a pretty good game.

7-1 Leafs

Martin Jones with a couple of good saves. If he keeps it to one goal against, he matches the first four games he ever played in the NHL as four wins with one goal against or less.

Benoit, who came right back out after the power play leveled a Shark at the Leafs blue line.

And that's this game done, mercifully.


Sharks bad.

The next game is Thursday on Long Island. PWHL tomorrow is Toronto at Minnesota.