The Toronto Maple Leafs showed off their quality goaltending and forward depth in a 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames in front of a lot of Leafs fans on Monday night.
Frederik Andersen stopped 35 of 37 shots, including 27 of 28 scoring chances at even strength. Tyler Ennis opened the floodgates in the first period with a quick two goals before completing his first career hat trick in the third. Two of his goals were smelly muffins, but they never ask how. Zach Hyman scored twice, including the game winner, while linemate Mitchell Marner had three points, including the brace late in the game.
Tyler Ennis: "I'm so proud to be a Leaf."— Nikita Zaitsev Appreciator (@HardevLad) March 5, 2019
The first period was a story in two parts.
Part one: Frederik Andersen
The Leafs got caved in all through the first period. They couldn’t get the puck out of the zone. They were messy with their passes, weak on their sticks, and straight up disorganized. As a result, Freddy Andersen had to make several stops to keep the Flames from scoring. They nearly did a few times, but somehow luck was on the Dane’s side.
First big stop by Andersen #Leafs pic.twitter.com/TtKRjKnXXc— Omar (@OLW93) March 5, 2019
Way too much time and space allowed here. Thankfully it was stopped #Leafs pic.twitter.com/jrrJQTU1nY— Omar (@OLW93) March 5, 2019
Here is the worst one. Connor Brown was centimetres away from getting the puck out of the zone, but had the puck taken off his stick, allowing for a full minute and a half long shift in the Leafs’ zone where the team scrambled all over the ice like a mess.
Well that could've been worse haha #Leafs pic.twitter.com/6jAnEfc7R5— Omar (@OLW93) March 5, 2019
This was after Ennis’ first goal and it was off the stick of Austin Czarnik, who was stopped a couple times by Freddy in the period. Czarnik was a Rule Six UFA from the Boston Bruins in the summer, and apparently had the Leafs as his second choice to sign with. The small right winger has been decent in the NHL in his three seasons, but Leafs fans will be happy to hear that Tyler Ennis has been inarguably better all year.
Another big chance for the Flames stopped by Andersen #Leafs pic.twitter.com/8IvMBGS0nG— Omar (@OLW93) March 5, 2019
Part two: Tyler Ennis
Before his first of two goals in the period, Ennis had a big chance set up to him by Frederik Gauthier who fed him a sharp outlet pass through the neutral zone. Ennis cut across into the middle of the ice and got a great chance on David Rittich, but was stopped.
Solid individual effort from Ennis #Leafs pic.twitter.com/a7wtUaY8PX— Omar (@OLW93) March 5, 2019
Calgary took the first penalty of the game when Johnny Gaudreau took a slashing penalty on Mitchell Marner. Ironic, eh. The second power play unit stepped out on the ice first because the first line and Auston Matthews spent a whole shift in the Flames zone with the extra attacker. The play started with Kasperi Kapanen throwing the puck in the zone, it got past Patrick Marleau, who was tied up by two Flames, so the puck got to Jake Muzzin. Since Marleau was so covered, Ennis was wide open in front of the net. A quick pass by Muzzin before a quick spin towards Rittich opened up Ennis for a great chance that he buried.
This goal was created by Ennis all on his own, but the puck went in because it bounced off Oliver Kylington and into the net. A super lucky goal, but Ennis got his 11th of the season nonetheless.
A little over a minute after that goal, the Leafs got another! Mikael Backlund was circling out of the corner and looking to pass to one of his defensemen. Little did he know that Marner was hiding in the middle of the ice in plain sight to steal the puck and burst down the rink for a breakaway. Marner was stopped on the initial chance by a great pad save by Rittich, but Hyman was doggedly chasing after him and was able to beat his man and knock the puck in with his skate. The goal was reviewed for any kicking motion, but the call stood. Good goal!
The Leafs were killed in possession in the first period. Shot attempts were 15-24 in Calgary’s favour at 5v5. The shots on goal were closer, but the Flames still had the edge 9-12. Scoring chances were about the same, if not worse, at 8-12. Somehow at the end of all that, the goals were 2-0 (at 5v5) and 3-0 in all situations. Not only were the Leafs super opportunistic (thank you, Tyler), but Freddy bailed them out big. Gotta love those slow starts.
Hyman would get his second of the game early when Marner got away from his man at the right faceoff dot before sending a perfect pass through the slot for Hyman, who smashed the puck home. Gosh, I love his celebrations.
Another small storyline coming from this game was Brady Tkachuk and Nikita Zaitsev getting into it with each other. It started with Zaitsev smashing Tkachuk into the boards — seconds before Freddy made a massive glove stop, thank you, Freddy — and continued in front of the net seemingly every time the two were on the ice together.
Andersen... #Leafs pic.twitter.com/53jwHjDvt1— Omar (@OLW93) March 5, 2019
Unleash the fury Zaitsev...Unleash it #Leafsforever pic.twitter.com/c7cfRBiGuT— Omar (@OLW93) March 5, 2019
Martin Marincin took a holding penalty in the last five minutes of the second and the Flames converted for their first goal of the game almost immediately. Johnny Gaudreau controlled the puck behind the net before reaching to his left to tuck the puck in past a diving Freddy. Andersen stopped the puck, but Tkachuk got the rebound and barely got it in over the line. the referee initially called the play “no goal”, but after a quick review, the call was overturned. The goal was initially credited to Gaudreau, but will probably get changed at some point.
The second was like the first: the Leafs got out-played, but still came out with a lead. At 5v5, Calgary had more shot-attempts (22-26), shots (10-13), but not scoring chances. the Leafs had the slight edge in that stat 10-9 in the middle frame.
Oh, and thank you, Freddy.
Are you kidding me Fred? #Leafsforever pic.twitter.com/5apWosw2cI— Omar (@OLW93) March 5, 2019
Ugliest hat trick in Leafs history? Doesn’t matter because Tyler Ennis scored his first career NHL hat trick with a goal 3:15 into the third period. Trevor Moore got this play going by driving across the offensive blueline and getting a shot on net from a tricky angle. Ennis grabbed the puck, circled to the half wall, and threw a literal muffin on net that somehow beat Rittich. 12 goals on the season for Ennis, who will be a healthy scratch on Wednesday against Vancouver. Maybe that changes between now and then?
With a little over seven minutes left in regulation, Mark Giordano got a centering pass around Marincin and Derek Ryan — a player a lot of people in Leafs Nation wanted as the fourth-line centre last summer — deflected the puck in on the net with his skate. This goal was a lot like the Hyman goal in the first, so let’s say tit for tat and both goals should count because it’s silly for them not to.
32 seconds later, Marner got his third (primary) point of the game with a goal off a faceoff won by John Tavares. From a tough angle, Marner threw the puck on net — probably looking for Hyman’s skate for a hat trick — but ended up putting the puck of Travis Hamonic’s skate and into the net for his 81st point of the season. Boy, do the Flames goalies usually give up a lot of bad goals, or was this game the exception?
Next game will also be a 9:00 pm on the road against the Vancouver Canucks. Let’s see if Leafs Nation can be louder in Rogers Arena than at the Saddledome. Best fanbase in Canada and no one can deny it.