First Period

The first really slick play on the game is Ryan Reaves stepping around a fellow named Wyatt Kaiser.

Leafs with lots of possession and no shooting to speak of so far. Joe Woll (are they trying to say wool? I can't tell) with some easy saves.

Leafs get the puck, enter the zone, the play is broken up.

Leafs get the puck, enter the zone, the play is broken up.

Leafs get the puck, enter the zone, the play is broken up.

Rinse repeat, Woll stops a Bedard line scoring chance and around we go again.

After many repeats of the above, Woll gets to stop Bedard himself.

Leafs get a chance to break the cycle with a power play, but you know, this looks the same. And Marner takes a penalty. Great, Mr. Four-on-Four is in the box for four-on-four.

Nikita Zaitsev goes down just as Gregor is easily gaining position on him. He looked a bit shaken up.

And for no good reason at all, Noah Gregor is fighting Connor Murphy, and I have to look up how he spells his name. Remember when we all wanted him and not McCabe?


You're going to say the Leafs are playing down to a bad opponent. And I'm now going to waste my time for a few minutes telling you why that's a pile of the crap Corey Perry and Reaves were slinging between the benches.

Bad teams have no highly skilled offensive players who aren't still acne prone because that's partly how they got bad, got the teenager who is their only good player, and will stay bad to get another. But they can disrupt offence.

You think of bad teams like the old Sabres, and that's not how it's done today. Today, with more advanced player evaluation, you can fill a team with positionally sound, defensively tinged players who can't play offence even as well as David Kämpf.

And so the Leafs come in, turn on the buzzsaw and CRUNCH. Start it up again, and CRUNCH, and again and again. And the bad team is going to get counter rushes because even before John Klingberg raised it to an artform, everyone on this team always defended a rush like they've switched teams.

Now carry on with your pithy meme about playing down.

That's a weird heatmap.

Second Period

Okay, so, Reaves comes across Perry down and he picked him up by his collar and sort of made him walk like a dog, and that is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.

And away we go, with a (really kind of slow) rush against. Woll gets the first one, but MacKenzie Entwistle gets the goal. And all I can say to Entwistle is Who are you, who who?

1-0 Chicago

JT blows one right through Arvid Söderblom to tie it up:

I feel like William Nylander is good at hockey.

Tie Game

Tyler Bertuzzi takes a penalty, and the PK gets to play against new kid. Woll has the goods.

Fraser Minten gets no good wood on two chances created by a flying and soaring Bertuzzi.

The buzzsaw has found the right gear and Chicago can't disrupt this. Chance after chance from the Leafs.

Oh yuck. Corey Perry gets a gift and fires it right past Woll.

Blergh 2-1 Chicago

This young Alex Vlasic is a legit player, though, very impressive in this game.

And Bertuzzi takes yet another penalty.

The post makes a save after the Leafs can't clear.

Oh, goody, now it's a rout, Tyler Johnson rifles one by Woll, who yes, looks very calm in net when a guy splits all four PKers and rips one past his ear.

3-1 Chicago

Chicago ends the period with another rush chance against, but Bedard flubs the drop pass.


Blergh. Also, evidence of dominating offensive shifts that did not result in goals:

Third Period

You irritate me, Leafs, do something better than you have so far.

Klingberg takes a hooking call as he's late to the play.

Nice shorty chance from (really) Timothy Liljegren. Matthews with his best, and most aggressive, PK yet.

Entwistle gets a high-sticking penalty, and the Leafs have the door cracked open here for a comeback. I'm willing to change the header pic, Leafs, go for it.

Just FYI, Matthews has 12 iCF at this point.

The Leafs play PP1 for the full run and have nothing at the end – not as smart a plan as it seems if you can't hold the zone.

Woll is pulled with four minutes to go.

Leafs ahead on the xG and the Deserve to Win O'Meter is at 70%.

Can't complain about the six-on-five effort or puck control, but no joy in getting it through the sea of Chicago sticks.

Taylor Hall fills the empty net, and that's the ballgame.

4-1 Chicago

But no! Coach's challenge for offside with less than a minute to go. The goal comes back.

Nylander wills the well-guarded net, and it's 3-2 Chicago.

Went in off of someone, at any rate.

And now this one gets challenged for offside, and no goal. And now we never have to figure out who actually scored, and the clock goes back to 51 seconds.

Chicago takes a penalty with 12 seconds left.

And now, finally, Chicago scores on an empty net. Taylor Raddysh. 4-1 Chicago.

The six-on-five was the best version of the Leafs.


Matthews and Nylander were themselves, the puck just didn't want to go in for them. Everyone else...

I would play Timothy Liljegren over John Klingberg, and surely you all know my feelings on Liljegren. Ask me again on a night when the puck goes in, though, because Klingberg sure can pass.

Ryan Reaves and Noah Gregor play well together and actually are the most useful of the new signings so far. The faintest praise anyone has ever been damned with.

Tyler Bertuzzi can take over that crown easily if he stops with the dumb penalties.

I saw Max Domi do one dumb thing (twice), and that's about it.

Next game is Thursday in Florida.