The Toronto Maple Leafs are back on a western road trip again, picking up exactly where they left off when their originally scheduled trip was suddenly cancelled back in December with a game against the Calgary Flames.
Sheldon Keefe does love the oddball eleven forwards and seven defenceman lineup, and he goes with it tonight. He often double shifts Nylander on the fourth line when he does this (he did on the Marlies when he was coach there too where his 11F/7D was a staple lineup,) so we’ll see if he does th
Wayne Simmonds is staying at home with his wife and their newborn daughter, born yesterday.
Dave Poulin says before the game that Jacob Markström has “dispelled the notion that goaltenders can’t play back-to-back.” That sounds like a challenge to the Leafs. We’ll see where this one goes!
Both teams are high-octane in the first few minutes. SOG are 4-4 at 3:34 into the game when the Leafs get the first power play of the game. The Flames kill it off, and then they give the Leafs a scare as the penalty ends and Blake Coleman jumps out of the box, picking up a stretch pass and rushes the net. He sets up a shot and the Flames get another off but nothing goes in.
Then the Leafs get hit with a Too Many Men penalty and go on the PK. Brodie tries to setup Mikheyev with his shorthanded magic but this one doesn’t work and then Brodie shoots the puck out into the crowd and takes a delay of game penalty.
Brodie gives a Leafs fan a puck pic.twitter.com/4efhRSEfim— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
Jack gives Brodie a supportive tap pic.twitter.com/B8tVDj1Jcp— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
The Leafs are defending on a 5-on-3 and Campbell gets called into to make some big saves, and he gets some help from Holl. Also; owwwwwwwwwwww.
Holl gets in the way of the shot pic.twitter.com/kS0NXsptz0— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
The Leafs successfully kill off the two penalties and then go back on the offence, starting with Rielly setting up Marner in front of the net here.
What a feed from Rielly to Marner— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
Nearly extended the goal-scoring streak pic.twitter.com/C6mrq4LG6k
That gets interrupted with another penalty taken by the Leafs, this time it’s Holl for Interference on whatever this play was supposed to be.
Holl: I came in like a wrecking ball! pic.twitter.com/KurxeVwjJD— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
Then all hell breaks loose. First, Kaše gets hit hard by Zadorov.
Huge hit by Nikita Zadorov on Ondrej Kase pic.twitter.com/sbLIX3hO8S— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
Then, Morgan Rielly snaps.
Morgan Rielly went right for Zadorov after the hit pic.twitter.com/d2ZObNjrjZ— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
The Flames end the period with a power play, but the Leafs hold them off. The Flames will have a 22 seconds of the power play spill over into the second.
After a brief celebration of Jaromir Jagr turning 50, we’re back to the game, and as mentioned above, the Flames start on the power play with Rielly in the box. Kaše is not on the Leafs bench to start the period and there is concern he may be in concussion protocol now after having gotten over another one recently. This also means the Leafs are down to 10 forwards in the game, and shortly after it’s announced that Kaše is out for the rest of the game for “precautionary reasons.”
The Leafs do kill off the penalty and we’re back to the high-octane offence and physical game, and finally we get our first goal. It’s Rasmus Sandin!
RASMUS SANDIN 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
But then only a minute later Andrew Mangiapane ties it up.
Andrew Mangiapane ties it pic.twitter.com/F9a054QLKv— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
The Leafs are really putting Markström through his paces with the shots on goal 27-14 for the Leafs with 13:00 left in the period.
Nylander draws a penalty and the Leafs get another chance on the power play and a Leafs fan in Calgary gets a good laugh.
LOL a Leafs fan points and laughs at Backlund pic.twitter.com/4ehJvEuJgr— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
However nothing comes of it, though Matthews has a great chance to score but it’s deflected by Markström. That was the first of several remarkable sequences in the back half of this period involving the Flames goalie. Liljegren plows into him at one point and he actually starts to chase after him for a second before thinking better of it. Look at those eyes.
And then just like that the Leafs break down and the Flames are up 3-1, scoring twice in only 32 seconds.
Cross-crease passing play goal between two defencemen pic.twitter.com/00bSlleO5Y— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
Oliver Kylington. 3-1 pic.twitter.com/eWhKms7sdY— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
Sheldon Keefe calls the timeout, but that doesn’t help and the Flames score again to go up 4-1. The game is now getting out of hand for the Leafs. They really need to get back at least one goal here before the end of the period.
NARRATOR: They didn’t.
As the clock winds down, the broadcast crew babbles on about their love of Mitch Marner, prompting our benevolent Overlord to chime in with an appropriate observation.
katyaknappe: There’s something very fitting about an ode to Mitch Marner sung while the team is losing to an Identity team.
The third period begins and the Flames score only a little over one minute in to the period to go up 5-1.
Given how this game is going I’m drinking straight vodka now, and this reminds me that in our current supply chain crisis the LCBO stock has been spotty with some of the large bottle sizes (hey, I’m a Leafs fan, of course I go for the large one) which do have a very small economy of scale in their selling price, and who doesn’t want to save money on booze? That further reminded me of a time several years ago when I went to the Yonge and Dundas LCBO location on a Saturday night—if you are not familiar with this location, it is a total zoo; one of the busiest LCBOs in the province, right outside the Eaton Centre. In the hour before closing on a Saturday it usually has about seven cashiers working and even with that manpower the lines still go fifteen people deep down the isles behind each one of those cashiers at 10:00 p.m. (this is of course back in the Before Times). So I was walking through the store and I saw this variety of vodka on the shelf called Alberta Pure. I bought it only because it was $3 cheaper than every other brand. That should have been the first warning. No, wait, Alberta should have been the first, but “the cheapest vodka” should have been a warning too.
I swear it tasted like gasoline. I literally barfed the second I took my first sip. Alberta Pure all right. “A taste of the oil sands direct to your mouth” should be on their label.
Oh! The Leafs scored! WOOOOO!
MICHAEL BUNTING 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
Off the post and in pic.twitter.com/9esVbzuOjK
Now we’ve got a power play opportunity here as Radova goes to the box for an illegal hit. Kessel makes a great play to strip the Czechs of the puck and then gets it over to Coyne-Schofield who (as if we didn’t know already) is so fast she just zips around the Czech defenders while they hopelessly try to keep up. The Americans setup a great scoring chance and...
Oh, sorry, I had CBC on the TV and the USA vs. Czechia game was more interesting hockey. We’ll have a recap of that one tomorrow morning, by the way.
As for the Leafs game, well, here’s a GIF that sumarises the rest of it for you.
lol Marner catches Bunting with a high stick on the bench— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) February 11, 2022
Spezza went into dad mode pic.twitter.com/DY2Gf7YT6T
Leafs lose 5-2.
Final Game Notes
Here’s the closing even-strength heat map from NaturalStatTrick.com
That big blob of dark blue of which we’ve become accustomed is sorely missing in front of the Flames net here tonight. There’s a lot of questions Keefe has to answer about this one.
The worst part of all this is it means Dave Poulin was right! Markstrom didn’t have to worry about back-to-back number six.
Next up, the Leafs head to Vancouver for their traditional Saturday game on Hockey Night in Canada, at the traditional time of 7:00 p.m. ET, much to the continuing outrage of the Vancouverites.
We’ll be watching to see the status of Kaše and if the Leafs may now have to bring in a call up from the Marlies, or if Simmonds will be back and Keefe will try the eleven forward and seven defence setup again.
See you all then!