Game recap: Maple Leafs lose frustrating game 4-3


Here we are. I’m ready to be hurt again, etc.

Maybe tomorrow though, once Montreal’s pre-game ceremony is over, will introduce every player who will be drafted, signed, traded or played for the Montreal Canadiens, their AHL team and the ECHL team.

Okay, hockey is currently on GO LEAFS GO!

FIRST PERIOD

The depth of Toronto’s new look is there… playing hockey.

Muzzin’ is a buzzin’

The start to the game was weak, but the front line was a heap in the offensive zone.

Murray looked good. Toronto took the first two penalties but killed both.

OBJECTIVE! MITCH MARNER DOES THE HEAVY LIFTING BEHIND THE NET AND MICHAEL BUNTING FINISHES IT IN FRONT! 1-0 LEAVES!

A pretty boring period ends with the Leafs holding a 1-0 lead.

First period thoughts

Offense: A slow even-strength period, in part because there were so many penalties called – only 13 of 20 minutes in the first period were 5 on 5. Toronto controlled 59% of the shots and 50% of the goals expected with equal force. And as you can see from the heatmap below, neither team really had anything aside from Marner’s single moment of brilliance.

Defense: Now, on the other hand, that means Toronto hasn’t really given up much. Only 9 shot attempts against, and nothing really dangerous.

Special teams: The biggest danger they faced was losing almost six full minutes outnumbered, but they managed to kill him at all. They had a 20-second power play that they didn’t score on, but whatever. Good marks for special teams in the first.

Remarkable: Marner, Bunting and I suppose Murray. Everyone else is still waking up from their pregame nap.

heat map:

PERIOD TWO

If there’s one problem Toronto faces with its system, it’s giving up chances to rush against. Montreal does a good job of catching passes on its side, and/or Toronto does a sloppy job of not returning the puck. Montreal finally gets a good chance of such a turnover and Cole Caufield fires it over Murray’s shoulder, tying it 1-1.

Toronto, however, resumes the pressure after the goal. Their best players are picking up the pace.

And famous offensive defenseman, Jake Muzz – wait what

EVGENY MALGIN IS JOHNNY ON PLACE TO CLEAN UP A REBOUND AND RESTORE THE LEAD! 2-1 LEAVES!

Toronto’s penalty kill has been the subject of a lot of practice this game, but so far they and Matt Murray have been up to the task.

Malgin gets a breakaway with a chance to take a two-goal lead, but he rings the shot outside the post.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Montreal creates a rushing chance and Cole Caufield passes Murray to tie the game. 2-2.

Shortly after, Toronto gave up ANOTHER chance to rush against, and Montreal came very close to taking the lead. After an unnecessarily long review, the appeal was not a goal. So I’ll just throw that out there…maybe stop giving up so much counter rush!

Right after the exam, Kerfoot goes on a breakaway and gets addicted…that means a penalty shot! Cared for! But he didn’t score. Not clean.

Second period thoughts

Offense: There wasn’t much more 5v5 time in the second than there was in the first, but it was a more eventful time. Toronto controlled 58% of the shot share, but had significantly more shot attempts overall. They also had more dangerous scoring chances, including their goal, two breakaways, a penalty shot and a few other medium danger chances. They have 2.63 goals expected in the game, including 2.00 in total in the second half alone.

Defense: On the other hand, they continually drop counter rush chances. Call it sloppy Toronto, call it opportunistic Montreal, call it a mix of both. Toronto would do well to take better care of the puck, which will have the double benefit of drying up all of Montreal’s source of offense this game and also helping them pressure the Canadiens more offensively.

Special teams: Still perfect shorthanded. They had a full power play where they looked dangerous, but didn’t score. They’ve had a lot more time on the PK than the PP, so it’s still a clean win so far.

Remarkable: Murray looks pretty solid. Malgin scored a goal and a breakaway where he hit the post.

heat map:

PERIOD THREE

What might help Toronto is to generate more rushing chances themselves, and they manage to do that early in the third.

This third period seemingly attempts to make the first period look like an action movie, but Montreal largely controlled the period evenly matched. They closed the gap in expected goals. Halfway through the period and both teams have just 10 shot attempts between them.

But Toronto gets a big powerplay chance with almost 5 minutes left in the game, with a chance to take the lead. But… no dice. Return to the same strength with a few minutes remaining.

And right after, Sean Monahan scores…you guessed it, off the cuff and Montreal takes a 3-2 lead with minutes to go.

BUT WILD WILLY BILLIAM NYLANDER SCORES THE RUSH HIMSELF AND EQUALS THE MATCH 3-3! THE OBJECTIVE IS ALWAYS AFTER REVIEW!

But they STILL get scores in less than 20 seconds on the clock, and Montreal wins 4-3. Muzzin handled the puck clearance as if it were an actual grenade.

Final Thoughts

Offense: It was pretty dull. They didn’t generate much on even strength, and nothing on the power play. Rust early in the season, sloppy passes and turnovers, Montreal blocking a lot of shots and passes and being opportunistic in the rush. That’s life.

Defense: I saw a lot of the blame on defense, but honestly… the calls, I mean turnovers were coming from inside the house, I mean the offensive zone. The Leafs defense and Murray didn’t acquit themselves trying to come back and make a few saves, and they looked scrambled.

Special teams: Perfect penalty stroke. Zeros on the power play. Call it a wash.

Remarkable: Not much for the whole game, tbh. Just a few flashes from a few players. This third period was excruciating to watch.

heat map:

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