Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs gave it a go by the end, but were forced to chase the game all night long as they eventually lost to the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 in a shootout.
Matthews scored twice in an eight-shot effort, including his 30th goal of the season in only game #45. He is the first Leaf to do so in his first four seasons... ever. Dmytro Timashov also scored his fourth goal of the season, while Frederik Andersen redeemed himself from an awful first goal, stopping 25 of 28 in the loss, including a trio of 10-bellers in the overtime.
Dammit, Freddy. Blake Wheeler dumped the puck in hard around the boards in the middle of a line change. Frederik Andersen thought he could get to it in time and stop if for his defense, but he slipped on the ice and fell. In that time, the puck arrived on the stick of Nikolaj Ehlers, who quickly shot it into the open net. Martin Marincin was right there, but he didn’t seem aware of where the puck was, nor where his goalie was. Can’t say I’m giving him a pass on that goal, either.
Auston Matthews! Once again, Matthews feels the emotional pull and backs up his best buddy in net and unleashes that to score his 30th goal of the season. Mitch Marner earned his 31st assist of the season. Matthews is now the first Leafs of all time to score 30 goals in each of his first four seasons. On pace for 55 goals. This guy is on a level of his own.
Auston Matthews (30-23—53 in 45 GP) reached the 30-goal mark for the fourth time in as many NHL seasons.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 9, 2020
Only 15 players in NHL history have scored 30 or more goals in each of their first four seasons, with Alex Ovechkin (14) the only active player in that group . #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/zsBGwqymKs
Literally again, Matthews puts the puck puck on a string and dangles it in tight for a high-danger chance, trying to get the Leafs ahead. He ended up being one of the only stand out Leafs in this game.
Adam Brooks drew a penalty and the Leafs got to go on the power play first. However, John Tavares decided to have an awful night on all ends of the ice, giving the puck away to Mason Appleton as he crossed his own blueline. Appleton went five-hole on Andersen, putting the Jets up one just before the period ended.
To put it in a word, the Leafs were unlucky in the first period. Another word you could use is low-event. I’m not trying to say it was a boring period, there were three goals after all. But in terms of total shots, this period was on the low side. The two teams were relatively close in 5v5 shot attempts (11-12), but the Leafs had the advantage in scoring chances (8-3). Thank you, Auston. Of the four high-danger chances, Matthews had two, Tavares had another, and Pierre Engvall gifted Freddy Gauthier another wide-open chance that the Goat flubbed.
For the second night in a row, the Marlies lines came together and provided the Leafs a boost offensively. Kasperi Kapanen started this play with a strong zone entry off the rush and put the puck on right for his teammates in front of the net. Brooks was the first to get it, ahead of his checker, he sent a sweet feed to Dmytro Timashov on the weak side, who tapped the puck home for his fourth goal of the season.
Timely-Timo....out of the box to complete a 3 on 1 and tie the game at 2. Marlie-Magic right there from 3 grads. #LeafsForever— Paul Hendrick (@HennyTweets) January 9, 2020
Tavares and Justin Holl couldn’t complete a pass to each other and the Jets were able to go off on a 4-on-1 with only Travis Dermott back. I think both Kerfoot and Nylander should’ve been aware of Holl pinching with Tavares down low. Both were below the hash marks when the play went bad.
I might be a little harsh on Dermott, but Holl said of Dermott in the intermission that he’s a strong communicator. I thought he would’ve been able to see the whole play and get one of his teammates to circle back. Maybe he tried and it was too late. Either way, the Leafs lost the lead. I’ll be in the comments, I’m curious to know if my take is really off or if other people saw that, too.
Same period, slightly better result. Still down by one.
There was a point early in the third period when the Leafs had a super line out mid-change (Matthews, Tavares, Marner) At first they were with Morgan Rielly and Tyson Barrie, but then they changed for Martin Marincin and Cody Ceci. The Leafs drew a power play so they had a 6v5 going on for a couple seconds. I can only explain it with this tweet.
*Leafs Big 4 on a delayed penalty with Marincin and Ceci*— Hardev Lad (@HardevLad) January 9, 2020
Marincin: oh shit what do we do
Ceci: Barrie stands at the point and looks jittery all the time, I bet I can do that
Marincin: Alright... to the net it is!
Matthews tried a tweener shot, which almost worked! God, he was elite in this game.
Make that on pace for 56 goals! Auston Matthews scores a muffin from the point that beats Connor Hellebuyck! The Jets had multiple times in the final two minutes of the game to tie it up. Credit to Marner and Tavares for keeping the puck out of the net. Marner could be a pretty good EBUG if he wasn’t so important as a skater.
This game was a grind up until this point. Shots were exactly eve, 39 apiece with scoring chances and expected goals ending up massively in Toronto’s favour. The Leafs defense was poor, giving the Jets better shots than I think they earned, but they held it together with the lint and sticky tack they had in their pockets.
I did not think the Leafs were going to get a point in this game unless Matthews went beast mode. I guess I was right because he did.
Oh my god so much happening I don’t even know what to say!
Andersen made, not one, but two UNREAL saves on some heavy odd-man rushes, including a 2-on-0.
Nylander had a chance. Matthews had a chance. Kapanen had a chance.
And then Andersen stopped Mark Scheifele on a breakaway!!!!!
ENGVALL IN OVERTIME!! No, he didn’t score, I was just so happy to see him there!
- Jason Spezza — Scores! Five hole.
- Kyle Connor — Stopped by the pad of Andersen!
- Mitch Marner — Dangles.... can’t finish. Bah.
- Patrik Laine — ....Sniped from the top of the slot???? Damn.
- Auston Matthews — SCORES FIVE HOLE! Nasty.
- Mark Scheifele — Scores to the right side. We go one more round.
- William Nylander — Also tries to go five-hole but can’t.
- Blake Wheeler — Scores.
After the Game
- Holy crap, Auston Matthews, take a bow in this game. He deserved a hat trick, but only settled for two. The kid remains on one career hat trick (you know which one it is), despite EIGHT two-goal games this season alone! He has 26 two-goal games in his career. Zero three-goal games. One four-goal game. Matthews ia a machine, and yet still so unlucky.
- After moving up in the lineup to the top-four, Travis Dermott joined Morgan Rielly and Tyson Barrie as the only Leafs with more than 20 5v5 shifts in the game. Dermott’s time on ice ended up being 18:00 on the dot, ahead of Barrie.
- That’s about where Dermott’s night failed to impress. His 5v5 corsi was 37% with zero defensive zone starts and lots of shifts starting off the rush. He was the only defenseman to not get a defensive zone start. In terms of gameplay, I started to see why Dermott might not be the most effective against higher lines. I will say Dermott is really good at one-on-one battles when he is trying to disrupt the play. However, when he gets the puck, he’s not always doing what he should to send it in the right direction. /
I think Travis Dermott is really good at winning a puck battle, then not being strong enough positionally or within the system to get it out or do anything. That takeaway followed by a turnover is a great example. I still think he needs to develop some patience. #Leafs— Hardev Lad (@HardevLad) January 9, 2020
- After coming in for Mason Marchment and scoring in this game, it looks like Timashov might get his spot back in the lineup for the time being. You can’t cut a guy who just scored, right? /