It's family day here so I wasn't surprised to see Toronto had a game scheduled, but I am surprised that a) it's in St Louis, not Toronto; and b) there are several games scheduled today in the early afternoon across the league. So I learned that today is Washington's birthday, and also it's President's Day I guess because of that? Neat.

Anyways GO LEAFS GO!


That's right, it's the NHL debut for Marshall Rifai! He is now the 11th different defenseman that will have played at least one game in the NHL for Toronto this season.

After a few minutes of not much going on, Matthews got sprung on a breakaway and flipped a backhand off the post. He's trying to get to 50 goals TODAY.

The Blues came right back and had a good chance of their own.

We're almost halfway through the period and there has been a total of five shots on net. Not a lot of offensive chances going either way.

After another five minutes of play, St Louis has slowly taken over the game. Even if they still haven't gotten a lot of shots or chances, they're in Toronto's end a lot while Toronto has struggled to maintain any possession or generate any threat.

First Period Thoughts:

The period has 12 total shots on goal, no powerplays, and multiple stretches of not much of anything happening outside of changes of possession.

Samsonov was steady when he needed to be, which wasn't much.

Honestly there really isn't much to write about it. A glance at the heatmap summarizes the nothing that was going on.


That's more like it! Matthew Knies undresses Parayko and gives Toronto a 1-0 lead.

Not long after, Toronto got another good chance in close. Toronto has come out this period pushing the play a lot more, led by our top offensive threat – David Kampf.

Nylander draws a tripping call and Toronto gets the first powerplay opportunity of the game. Toronto has been outshooting St Louis 9-2 at some point and had the only high danger chances, to give an idea of how they were controlling play.

Leafs don't get much going on the powerplay, and St Louis starts controlling play again.

Bobby McMann got a great chance using his speed to intercept a pass across the blueline, giving him a partial breakaway.

Reeves takes a penalty though, and now Toronto will try and protect their lead for the next two minutes. Kyrou came real close, but fired it over the net as Samsonov was sprawling. Toronto did a pretty good job trying to kill it after that, but had a breakdown leading to a Saad shot in the slot that fooled Samsonov – may have been deflected right as he shot by a Toronto player.

Toronto got a couple of decent chances between the Blues goal and the end of the second period, but the period ends tied at 1-1.

Second Period Thoughts:

There was a lot more going on that period, thankfully, and especially from Toronto. It wound up being pretty close on shot attempts, but Toronto controlled the quality and prevented the Blues from getting much on net.

Toronto had a 14-7 edge in shots on goal, with an 11-2 edge at 5v5. They also had a 70% edge in expected goals at even strength. St Louis' only real offense in the whole game has come on the powerplay, so.... definitely avoid taking more penalties, is a strategy I'd recommend.


Toronto starts the third period with Matthew Knies instantly drawing a high sticking penalty, sending Toronto to the powerplay. And almost immediately off the draw, Auston Matthews scores his 49th goal of the season as Marner passed it out from behind the net to him all alone in the slot. Toronto takes a 2-1 lead.

Matthew Knies giveth, and taketh away. He takes a penalty after Toronto's powerplay goal, giving St Louis a chance to tie it up.


Toronto kills off the rest of the penalty, and are holding the 3-1 lead doing a pretty good job of smothering the Blues' attempts at generating offense.

Toronto had something brewing off the rush, but Tavares gets tripped going to the net but doesn't get the call. JT was... less than happy lol

St Louis pulls the goalie with a bit over four minutes left in the game, pushing for the comeback. Toronto's top line got caught out for a long shift with the net empty, almost two minutes I think, but managed to get it out and get a change.

Bertuzzi had a good chance to seal the deal with the empty net, but couldn't convert. St Louis came back and tied the game off a seeing-eye point shot that found a way through traffic – it may have been deflected again. So instead of being up by three, it's a one goal game with a minute to go.


Third Period Thoughts:

A good effort by the team. It wasn't an overly exciting game, but Toronto did a pretty good job limiting St Louis' offense in the game and held them to only 21 shots. I'll give particular props to the defense group, who played a very physical, controlled and suffocating game.