It’s time to play the Islanders in front of the most dedicated boo birds in hockey.
The coaches duel with their “energy” players, and then the game actually starts with the Matthews line on the ice. Some offence ensues, but Auston Matthews does not draws a penalty for the action on him. Bunting gets it done, however.
PP for the Leafs. PK for the Islanders. Strength against strength. As expected the Leafs have trouble setting up, and the kill is aggressive in a different way to how the Leafs do it.
And then almost immediately that one is over, the Islanders take another penalty.
These guys really are excellent at taking away passing lanes. It’s like they built this team to beat Tampa, and now aren’t going to get the chance because they forgot to get goal-scorers to win the regular season.
Oh, there’s Carl Dahlström in number 48. He wears that on the Marlies, and every time I see him, my heart lifts for a second, and I think Calle Rosén! But alas, quickly you realize you are not looking at that kind of defenceman.
It appears the Islanders “energy” players have carte blanche to roll over anyone, puck-carrier or no. So, that’s fun.
Matt Martin caught Tavares along the boards pic.twitter.com/To4zCjqpg7— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
And in a shock to no one, the Leafs take the next penalty.
Rielly gets the play going— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
Marner finishes it pic.twitter.com/a4ssDdLgvY
Lovely shorty, there with a little luck to make it work.
1-0 Maple Leafs
Oh, yeah. Things were looking like the Leafs were going to cycle out the rest of the period but never shoot until the play goes the other way, and Liljegren has never seen a lob pass before, I guess.
Zach Parise ties pic.twitter.com/rK9T8LhllA— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
But wait, there’s more: The Islanders remind us all they do really dumb things.
PIERRE ENGVALL 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
WHAT A GOAL! 0.3 SECONDS LEFT IN THE FIRST pic.twitter.com/ECedHEKT4C
2-1 Maple Leafs
Nice moves, Pierre.
- Good period for people who like to analyze PK tactics.
- The 5on5 was 10 shots each and .5 xG to .3 for the Islanders. Each team defended how you’d expect./
Matthews sets up a chance just by stepping on the ice with the third line. His main method of adding to his ice time this season is shifts with other lines instead of very long shifts with Marner.
Matthews comes off the bench, forces a turnover and nearly scores on the rebound pic.twitter.com/IaK2NZCVBb— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
Dermott out-muscles Anders Lee, and the Leafs celebrate by taking 20 minutes to exit the zone.
Dermott fought for that one (literally) pic.twitter.com/H8XA5I0T3S— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
Did you just have the puck? The Islanders are hitting you.
Dahlstrom with a smile on his face after getting hit lol pic.twitter.com/coTN3MigBw— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
Okay, I love TJ Brodie, but he absolutely looks silly trying to score after a smart move to hold the puck. Mo shows how it’s done.
MORGAN RIELLY 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
CAPTAIN MORGAN pic.twitter.com/xQw1OExiyh
3-1 Maple Leafs
Dahlström takes a very AHL penalty, and now we get the Islanders’ PP again.
Brodie and Rielly playing almost the entire PK tells you exactly what type of defenceman this team needs to add. Can they find him, can they afford him?
Petr Mrazek makes the glove save and ensures everyone sees it pic.twitter.com/gd9024J04J— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
Leafs really keeping the Islanders out of their zone, and their offence has become a lot less theoretical.
- The Leafs had the puck a lot in the first, and did nothing with it a lot. This period has seen more shooting, and better shooting.
- Corsi is 18 - 8 and the xG is 1.7 to .9 for the Leafs in this one, so a solid five-on-five performance against a tough defensive team.
- Strong period from Dermott in many ways./
The Leafs have the most dangerous lead in Leafs hockey. Can they hold it?
Dahlström and Dermott have played over eight minutes at five-on-five so far, which is good for keeping Brodie and Rielly from collapsing. I like Dahlström’s dull game with the puck. I like Dermott’s as well, but neither defend with a great deal of skill. Neither do Sandin and Liljegren with consistency.
Big, big stop from Mrázek after a big, big giveaway from Rielly. Rielly takes a hooking call on the play.
Mrazek stretches and keeps the puck out pic.twitter.com/DF9gfGFsx9— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
Nice kill from the Leafs there without their number one defender.
Rielly feels bad, so he’s working extra hard now:
Morgan Rielly uses the defensive slide pic.twitter.com/wQHRtnSOCT— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) January 23, 2022
The Islanders take a timeout to torture us for another minute.
Mrázek holds the line, and the Leafs hold the lead.
And there was much rejoicing.
- Strong game from Marner.
- The Tavares line was much better than they were against the Rangers.
- Sandin and Liljegren were played like a legitimate second pair, and they ain’t perfect, but they got it done.
- The Islanders are a grind. /
Next game isn’t until Wednesday, and is back at home against the Ducks.