Due to a comical series of mishaps (mostly me being foolish), we were left without a formal recapper for the first period of tonight’s contest, so you are left with Things Fulemin Remembered for the opening frame. Here they are:
- The Avalanche are, by numbers and reputation, a one-line team, and so they appeared. That said, the Leafs started in sleepy fashion and did not have an especially inspiring opening five minutes. Freddie was tested early in his ability to keep steady during scrambles in and around his crease. It took a powerplay for Toronto to really get rolling.
- Roll they did, on the powerplay, although without results on the scoreboard. Semyon Varlamov was tested repeatedly. Including by one individual, who is going to get his own bullet point.
- William Nylander is cursed, man. He was absolutely buzzing all over the offensive zone and he just could not put one in the net, try as he might. I feel comfortable saying he was Toronto’s best player this period, and it wasn’t all that close (though that wasn’t a terribly high bar). But man, he could use a few bounces.
- The Leafs looked better as things went on, although Nathan MacKinnon is a monster.
- On the whole, it was a fairly low event period, which is not what you’d expect from the Leafs, or (at least by reputation) the Avalanche./
- [20:00] Avs start the period on the power play.
- [18:41] Not a ton going for the Avs on the man advantage, and we’re back to neutral.
- [17:46] Leafs goal! Kind of a nothing play, as Matthews gains the zone and passes it back to Rielly at the left point. He goes D-to-D, and Ozhiganov’s wrister floats into the net with Varlamov reacting as if he didn’t see it. Not a highlight reel goal, but it’s 1-0 Leafs nonetheless./
- [16:28] And immediately after, Par Lindholm doubles the lead! A strong 4th line shifts sees the Swede finish off a nice pass from Connor Brown from behind the net. 2-0 Leafs!
- [16:28] And Colorado challenges the play for offside. We’ll see if it holds up.
- [16:28] Looks like it is actually offside. No goal. Back to 1-0 Leafs.
- [16:32] The Leafs are mad now, and respond the way they know best. Scoring goals! Kasperi Kapanen pots one in from the side of the net! The puck is dumped in, and Johnsson pokes it to Kappy at the goalmouth, who makes no mistake. Back to 2-0 Leafs./
- [15:43] Andersen absolutely ROBS Carl Soderberg to maintain the 2 goal lead. This has been an eventful few minutes. I have no clue what Dermott was trying to do on that play. That was a horrific giveaway.
- [15:13] By the way, the offside review added seconds to the clock, which explains the time discrepancy between the Lindholm non-goal and the Kapanen goal.
- [13;Landeskog gets one back, as the Avs top line burns the Leafs. A Tyson Barrie point shot is tipped in front, and man, you really can’t do a whole lot against that. Tip your cap. 2-1 Leafs./
- [12:35] Almost immediately after, MacKinnon gets a breakaway that Freddie stops. Hainsey did a good job recovering to make it harder for MacKinnon
- [11:07] The Matthews line has a really tough time getting out of their own zone against the Avs third line. Not exactly what you would expect, given their relative lack of name power.
- [10:04] And that top line does it again! Rantanen pilfers the puck of Kadri as the Leafs try to exit the zone, which creates a 2-on-1. The skilled Finn fires it past Freddie, and we’re tied at 2. That didn’t look nice for Naz, though frankly, the Tavares line looked just as bad (the Leafs were on a partial change)./
- [7:21] The Leafs draw a penalty, as Zadorov boards Hyman.
- [6:42] The Matthews-Nylander power play look relatively solid, producing a couple decent chances, but no goals.
- [5:36] Marner loses the puck at the blueline, and Gardiner ends up getting absolutely robbed of the puck by Soderberg on the race back to recover it. Yikes, that looks awful for Jake, and that was a hell of play by Soderberg. 3-2 for the Avs./
- [5:15] That’s the kind of play people look at and despise Jake for. He got outmuscled and big-brothered by a guy who no one sees as an elite power forward (though Soderberg is surprisingly large). It was an absolutely terrible play.
- [2:25] Tavares gets a nice shot away after a Hyman won faceoff, but it doesn’t go.
- [1:01] The Avs continue to dominate the shot clock, including a particularly strong shift against a Franken-line of Kadri, Nylander, and Matthews. It’s not going well for Toronto right now.
- [0:01] Tavares takes a hooking penalty on MacKinnon right before the period expires.
- [0:00] The Leafs are getting soundly outplayed by a team that doesn’t do that to a whole lot of teams. They need a much better period in the third. Between the brutal giveaways for high-end chances and their total inability to get to the front of the net on offence, it hasn’t been a pretty night for anyone in blue. /
- [20:00] The Leafs start the penalty on the PK, and a kill here is critical to keep the game alive.
- [18:00] Pretty routine kill. Now they have 18 minutes to start playing at 5v5.
- [17:35] Gardiner is getting a couple boos, and while I don’t think he’s played well, booing your own player for a bad play is generally kind of silly in my opinion.
- [16:55] Nylander is playing with Tavares and Hyman for a shift as Marner recovers from playing on the PK. Not much happens as a result though.
- [14:00] Marner scores! A Dermott outlet pass finds him on the left wing blueline, and he wires a wrister from the faceoff dot over Varlamov’s glove side. 3-3 and the Leafs needed that badly. They’ve still generated almost nothing offensively, and some bad Avs goaltending has gifted them a chance to steal a game./
- [13:40] Hyman throws a (bad) hit on MacKinnon which causes a scrum. Zadorov comes in to defend MacKinnon’s honour. Both go to the box, which is probably a trade we’re all comfortable making.
- [11:43] The 4-on-4 is relatively uneventful from a chances perspective, but the shift after sees a patchwork Nylander-Lindholm-Johnsson line take it to the MacKinnon line, which is as surprising for me to write as it is for you to read.
- [8:48] The Marner goal has seemingly energized the Leafs (or alternatively, demoralized the Avs). They’ve had some decent chances since that.
- [8:40] Matthews with Nylander and Marleau off an offensive zone faceoff.
- [8:15] Aaand that line doesn’t succeed, as the puck ends up in the back of the Leafs net. The puck goes the other way, and JT Compher passes to Soderberg in the slot, who fires it past Freddie. 4-3 Avalanche. I struggle to find a Leafs player who wasn’t at fault on that goal. Dermott got walked by Erik Johnson. Zaitsev was on his belly. Matthews was late helping for defencemen who clearly needed it. Nylander lost his man. Just awful./
- [6:18] That line is out there again, and are nearly victimized again.
- [4:26] The boo-birds are out again for Jake, having stopped in the brief time where the Leafs tied the game. He wasn’t even on the ice for the fourth goal though.
- [4:07] Nylander out with Matthews again after an offensive zone draw.
- [3:21] It doesn’t go terribly well.
- [2:57] The Leafs pull the goalie REALLY early.... and it immediately backfires as Matt Calvert banks it home from his own blueline. 5-3 Avalanche, and that’s the end of it. /
Whelp #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/klj3cLOyCw— Omar (@OLW93) January 15, 2019
- [1:48] Soderberg hat-trick. 6-3. /
WHELP #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/DTBdxJ5W4U— Omar (@OLW93) January 15, 2019
- [0:00] Ugly game. Do better against Tampa. That’s it./