The Toronto Maple Leafs are on a bit of a hot streak, and are facing the New York Rangers to see if that will continue. Of course, playing the Rangers means that they’re dealing with Alexandar Georgiev. Let’s see if they can actually score against him!
Leafs go on the penalty kill early after Morgan Rielly took a tripping call. Leafs killed it off pretty well, with Zach Hyman having the best chance of either team on a breakaway.
After the PK we were treated to a line of Auston Matthews, John Tavares and.... Frederik Gauthier? Sure why the hell not!
Mitch Marner with a brutal pass in his own zone that was intercepted and turned into a prolonged shift in the Leafs end, but the Leafs wind up with a chance off the rush once they finally clear the zone.
D Activated = 1-0 Leafs
The third line had a perfect offensive zone shift. Crisp passes, lots of movement, and working the puck around until they set up Pierre Engvall for an open shot in front of the net that he did not miss. Beautiful goal. Assists to Justin Holl and Ilya Mikheyev
Our Swedes Are Better than Your Swedes = Willy Makes it 2-0
Not long after Mika Zibanejad rang a loud one off the post... close call, also I covet my neighbours Zibanejad. Not long after, Kasperi Kapanen takes a pretty harmless looking shot from a long ways away on the boards, but Wee William Nylander had a juicy rebound to give the Leafs a two goal lead!
Rangers Activate Their D, Holl Didn’t = Rangers make it 2-1
Between Holl, Tavares and Marner someone shoulda done covered the Rangers guy all alone in front, and no one did. I’m leaning Holl on that one since he wasn’t really covering anyone where he was, but since Brady Skjei is a defender... where the hell was Marner??
Same Crappy Defense, Same Result = 2-2 Tie Game
The Leafs thought that having no defenseman covering anyone in front of the net worked so well on the first Rangers goal that they’d do it again. This time Barrie and Rielly chased behind the net, leaving Strome wide open in front.
First Period Thoughts
- The game was basically equal between the two teams in every way.
- Goals: 2-2.
- Shot attempts: 16-14 for the Leafs.
- Expected goals: 0.94 - 0.9 for the Rangers, since they had more good scoring chances than the Leafs.
- You can see the even play between the two teams in the heatmap:/
- Special teams: only one penalty kill for the Leafs and they looked good. Hopefully the Leafs get some powerplahahahahaha as if./
Woooooooow baby Marner with some dirty dangles turned Skjei into a pretzel and a breakaway that was stopped.
Then the Leafs actually drew a penalty... and then another penalty! Leafs get a long 5 on 3 chance.
Skjei Own Goal = 3-2 Leafs
Marner was looking for a bit of a backdoor pass to Tavares at the side of the net, but the puck was actually deflected in by Skjei into his own net. Leafs get the goal and still have time for a 5 on 4 powerplay. Matthews and Nylander get the assists, Marner credited with the goal.
Dermott Hurt Blocking Shit, Buchnevich Gets Rebound = 3-3 Tie Game
The Leafs get hemmed in their own end, a point shot was blocked by Dermott’s ankle or foot which stung him, and Buchnevich cleaned up the rebound to tie it. The Rangers hit the post right after, and the Leafs took a delay of game penalty to go down on the PK...
Auston Matthews though...
Second Period Thoughts
- Offense: The Leafs’ turned it on more after they killed off their delay of game penalty, pulling ahead in shot attempts and scoring chances. Marner and Matthews each had some highly giffable plays that I think I’ll be rewatching a few more times. The Matthews line is leading the way in generating offense, while the Tavares line has struggled overall.
- Defense: As good as their offense was, holy cow the Leafs’ defense in their own end has been a tire fire all game, about as bad as the Rangers’ has been. The difference is the Leafs are supposed to be contenders and the Rangers are rebuilding.
- Special teams: the powerplay was good enough to score one goal on their 5 on 3 chance, but really struggled to even get set up on their PP late in the period. Their penalty kill didn’t give up a goal but didn’t look as good as they did in the first.
- Shot attempts: 18 to 8 for the Leafs
- Expected goals: 0.88 to 0.32 for the Leafs.
It was a better period for the Leafs overall from a process perspective, but the period and the game still wound up tied in results.
Matthews + Nylander = 4-3 Leafs
Great backcheck by Matthews starts the play and Nylander gets his 2nd of the night!— Leafs ALL Day (@LeafsAllDayy) December 21, 2019
4-3 Leafs! pic.twitter.com/8YMAkt2anD
Leafs start the period strong, with Matthews picking off a pass in the defensive zone to start the breakout, and finding Nylander for the snipe. Matthews and Dermott with the assists.
Marner + 47 Seconds Later = 5-3 Leafs
Jesus, guys, let me finish writing about the previous goal... Ryan Strome with a brutal giveaway in his own end, and Marner does the rest. Dangled a defenseman and sniped it past Georgiev for the two goal lead.
Mikheyev + Space = 6-3 Leafs
SOUPERMAN! He adds another goal for good measure.— Leafs ALL Day (@LeafsAllDayy) December 21, 2019
Another Rangers turnover leads to a 2 on 1 for the Leafs. Mikheyev kept all the way and wired a hard wrister past Georgiev for his 7th goal of the year.
- The big boys drove the bus for the most part tonight. Nylander and Marner with two goals each, Matthews with a couple of assists. The third period was pretty solid all night too, but more for locking things down and not looking as much like a tire fire as the rest of the Leafs seemed to be defensively. Oh wait, they actually scored two goals as a line too lol.
- Good lord the Rangers are even worse than the Leafs for dumb turnovers and lazy defense. This win was as much about them being bad as the Leafs being good, maybe more.
- A win is a win, the Leafs have a chance to go 10-4 under Keefe tomorrow against the lowly Red Wings./