It’s a Tuesday road game for the Maple Leafs against the Dallas Stars.
The Battle of the Robertson brothers is about to begin. It’s also the debut of Conor Timmins on the Leafs, and the long awaited NHL debut of Semyon Der-Arguchintsev.
The obligatory nod to the Robertson family on the broadcast then cuts to a shot of SDA on the bench seconds before the start of the game and he looks absolutely terrified. A lot is on the line for him tonight, but most important is to not do anything really dumb.
There’s a quick shot of Willly thinking very hard on the bench about something, perhaps it’s about how he barely made it into the game. I was really hoping for the drop and roll under the door at the last moment here.
LOL the pause as Nylander notices its closing pic.twitter.com/RpN1ximBqf— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
D’awww they got both Robertsons out for the puck drop.
So the Leafs open up with a power move here by Mitch Marner.
Marner called for tripping and doesn't like it pic.twitter.com/Pr4k5ZePG1— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
That’s not how you want to start a game, but that penalty is thankfully killed off, and the game continues with a really high-octane performance from both teams. It’s late night “high event hockey”, which means it won’t be long until...
The streak goes on! Marner assists Tavares and hits the 20 games-in-a-row milestone with an assist and the Leafs are first team on the board.
JOHN TAVARES 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
THE CAPTAIN STRIKES pic.twitter.com/kgzMDGHLWR
Oh and there’s my boy Mushy being himself.
Marchment knocks Matthews into Murray— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
Leafs PP pic.twitter.com/iRx2Z92DdY
So here’s how the power play is going for the Leafs.
shorthanded 3-on-1 against pic.twitter.com/kRBksZ1Eo5— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
The Leafs have killed off the penalty but the Stars have total control here for some time. The Leafs are scrambling on the back foot. Speaking of feet, Conor Timmins’ do not appear to work tonight; he is falling down constantly doing simple skating manouvers. It appears he’s now getting an equipment change on the bench.
Victor Mete’s feet worked until this happened.
Victor Mete went to the locker room after this hit pic.twitter.com/hy6arpeP0S— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
AUSTON MATTHEWS 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
RIFLE! 2-0! pic.twitter.com/OJoVSDtnHC
As we wind up the period with a nice two goal lead I took notice of #53 on the Stars and had to look him up. He’s Wyatt Johnston who I had not heard of before. He’s 19 years-old, and from Toronto too. The Stars drafted him 23rd overall in 2021. He has 7 goals in 25 games so far this year. They definitely got some good value on that pick. The Leafs would have selected 25th in that draft, but they traded the pick to Columbus for Nick Foligno. Our prospects expert Brigstew informs me is indeed widely viewed as far exceeding his draft position. A lot of teams missed picking him.
And there goes another defenceman.
Maple Leafs defenceman Victor Mete will not return to tonight’s game due to injury (lower body)— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) December 7, 2022
Oh and the parade of good news continues with Justin Holl taking a tripping penalty to start the game. Thank goodness for Giordano improvising some good defence here and the Leafs kill off the penalty.
And please tell the Stars to stop ramming poor Murray.
another collision with Murray pic.twitter.com/W0Yg7rLmiN— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
Then the Leafs get their own chance and my oh my it’s a great power play. Where is this power play every other time? Tavares comes so close to scoring another, but the clock ticks down and oh we have Pierre Engvall trying to kill Jason Robertson and we have blood so the Leafs have to kill off a four minute penalty. My guess it’s that’s gonna be awkward for Engvall when he gets back on the bench and sits beside Nick.
Somehow, the Leafs kill that off and the Leafs get back their momentum and it’s Rasmus Sandin putting the Leafs up 3-0 with more than half the game now in the books.
RASMUS SANDIN 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
SLEEP WITH ONE EYE OPEN! pic.twitter.com/ksuU9BC4Tg
Oh lovely, now we have another Leafs penalty, this time confusion on the bench causes the Leafs to put out six players.
Leafs PK— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
too many men pic.twitter.com/VMKkZ3ye9b
The penalty is killed again. They are doing great work shorthanded in this game but it would be nice to have to be that way at all.
HAHAHAHA of course there’s more!
Justin Holl...threw the puck...on a penalty kill— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
5-on-3 against pic.twitter.com/aofB8NLvsL
Now it’s a five-on-three situation with two of the Leafs PKers in the box, Giordano and Holl. But guess what? The Leafs get through it. Well almost all of it. Five seconds of this madness will carry on to the start of the next period.
BUT JUST STOP TAKING PENALTIES!!!
How many penalties will the Leafs take this period? Hopefully none. The Leafs are up 3-0 here so they simply need to play out the clock.
Hey there’s SDA, out now with Bunting and Aston-Reese. Keefe has to shake things up with so many of the players that do not kill penalties having little to no ice time because of what happened last period. Also Der-Arguchintsev has been pronounced three different ways by the broadcast crew in the first three minutes of this period
Murray has now stopped 34 shots on goal this game. Leafs not exactly helping him towards that shutout but we’ll see if he can get through this with 12 minutes to go.
A pause from the Leafs game here as everyone is commenting about what’s happening in Seattle where Shane Wright scored his first NHL goal and it was against the Habs who famously skipped him in the draft. LOLHABS!
Back in the game, I must have missed it, but everyone is pointing out that Pontus Holmberg has had a good one.
katyaknappe Good lord, that was Pontis Holmberg driving the net like a goal scorer.
And then he took a good pro kind of shot.
brigstew I like me some Holmberg.
Will make a cromulent depth guy.
I agree he embiggens such a role.
Timmins has his feet sorted out and is no longer falling down, in fact he’s like a brick wall now against the Stars.
Timmins denies the dump-n-chase pic.twitter.com/03MfmAjJJp— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
Kerfoot gets the empty net goal. NO TOUCHING, PIERRE!
I would've screamed if Engvall tapped this in at the end lol pic.twitter.com/dbpNmwKscu— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 7, 2022
That’s it. It was a bizarre game, but the Leafs won and Murray got his shutout, officially stopping 44 shots on goal.
With 5.979 goals saved above expected, Matt Murray's performance vs. Dallas is the best for a goalie in a shutout since modern stats started. https://t.co/4DXfTKMqxE pic.twitter.com/lBKDveEUkA— MoneyPuck.com (@MoneyPuckdotcom) December 7, 2022
The Leafs are back in Toronto on Thursday to play the Kings at a more reasonable 7:00 p.m. ET.