The Toronto Maple Leafs went into the city of brotherly love to visit the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, looking to continue their run of wins under Chief Keefe. Right before puck drop we got a surprise lineup with Spezza on Tavares’ wing. Did it work? Let’s find out!

First Period Highlights

First Period Thoughts:

  • A good period for the Leafs in every area
  • Offense: built a comfortable lead in shot attempts, scoring chances, and expected goals.
  • Defense: only gave up 13 shot attempts and 0.5 expected goals against, you can see this reflected in the heatmap where they gave up nothing near the net:/
  • Powerplay: that was one of the best powerplays I’ve seen all year (the first unit anyways). They got lots of shots that weren’t all from the point, they moved around, they created good chances in spite of an aggressive PK.
  • Lines: I thought Spezza looked pretty great that period on the Tavares line. Also saw a random shift with Engvall on with Kerfoot and Kapanen and that speed tantalized me, wouldn’t mind seeing it more.
  • Concerns: Matthews’ line at 5v5 was pretty null, regardless of shot attempts they finished at pretty much zero expected goals either way./

Second Period

1-0 Flyers

Auston Matthews got danced by Kevin Hayes at the blueline and no one tied up Laughton in front. Holl, Rielly, you decide whose man that was supposed to be.

2nd Period Thoughts

  • As good as the 1st period was for the Leafs, they were worse in the 2nd period
  • Offense: they had about half the shot attempts and scoring chances, and 13 the expected goals at 5v5
  • Defense: they gave up about twice as many shot attempts, scoring chances and expected goals. This doesn’t even take into account the two penalties they took. You can see the difference between the first period heat map and the second:/
  • Penalty kill: they didn’t give up any goals, or shots, and didn’t look bad. I wouldn’t say they looked great either? But the results speak for themselves.
  • Lines: The Tavares line struggled that period, the fourth line has been bad pretty much the whole game outside of Engvall, who’s getting some shifts up the lineup. I continue to not see the point in Timashov and Gauthier. The Matthews line have the possession but still aren’t generating any real offense. Ever since the goal against, Keefe has played Spezza less and had Tavares with Nylander and Matthews at times. Ceci and Rielly have been terrible.
  • Concerns: Freddie and the post are keeping the Leafs in the game, but they’re at least only down one goal./

Third Period

1-1 Tie Game!

I kid you not, exactly 5 minutes before that goal Katya said: “Come ooooon. We need a Marlies fluke goal here.”

2-1 Flyers

Stop me if you’ve heard this before — the Rielly-Ceci pairing with the Matthews line did some bad things in the defensive zone.

3-1 Flyers

Not that it looked like the Leafs were generating any offense for a comeback, but Konecny sealed the deal.

4-1 Flyers

The Leafs pulled the goalie early and gave up an empty net goal.

5-1 Flyers

A terrible change by ALL of the Leafs let Ghost Bear walk in and fire a rocket of a slap shot over Freddie.

6-1 Flyers

LMAOOOO Two goals in the last minute of the game, and of course JVR got his first goal to break a slump. What an awful end to the game by the Leafs.

Final Thoughts

  • The third period was more equal in terms of shot attempts, but was even worse as far as scoring chances.
  • Offense: basically nothing. They got a fluke goal, and didn’t really come close at any other point.
  • Defense: holy mother of god that Giroux goal was a clinic in puck watching by the Leafs.
  • Penalty kill: was actually good again in the third, not that it mattered in the end.
  • Okay I wrote those points before the Leafs found a way to give up like 12 goals in the last minute of the game. Suffice to say the Leafs Leafed their way in the final minutes to turn a close(ish) game into a blowout./

What was more sad about that game?

Ceci’s expected goals of like 1%49
Those last 3 minutes208
Their offense disappearing after the first period173