The Leafs win even when facing the Panthers


It’s SEGABABA time, what could go wrong? Seldo was going to do the recap, but he chose to go to this game and watch it in person. His priorities are all wrong.

Things to know: Ilya Mikheyev and William Nylander will start the match swapped as they ended it yesterday. Petr Mrázek is in goal. The Panthers also played last night, and they needed a shootout to beat the Senators, so they’re also tired, traveled and want a win.

First period

At least Mason Marchment is going after someone his size.

It was quick!

Sheets 1-0

Florida hits one on the crossbar, which is perhaps the Leafs’ most reliable goalie right now.

Ilya Lyubushkin gets the puck out and it doesn’t pass, and it immediately drops back to the blue line, and Mitch Marner comes in, but very cautiously in case the play goes the other way, and… you know that. is very good, and I approve, and yet it’s boring to see a team as gifted as the Leafs playing risk aversion.

Brandon Montour scores to tie it up, and what you should watch here is when Sam Bennett watches Mrázek, and the whole open side of the ice, stops, then passes the puck to Montour, who has everything time and space to put that one in the net.

Draw

So who is to blame ? Defensemen watching the puck – all five – leaving the guy open? The goalkeeper who can’t even really make a play on the pass (notice his right skate never connects to the post)? The skaters’ inability to regain possession along the boards for very long? Or all of the above?

Long fourth-line defensive quarterback where Holl and Brodie expect to block every shot as the only defense.

The Leafs scoop the first penalty for Holl who dropped Giroux. And now everyone has a riddle. If you thought Matthews was tripping last night, you’re okay with that. If you’re not, you feel like the ref just wanted to call something.

Florida is struggling to spend a lot of time preparing their power play, and Mrázek has the saves he needs.

Blackwell is in a hurry, and suddenly a whistle blows! Holl takes another penalty for hitting a guy. It’s more of a penalty than a “stumble”, but not much more. I feel like I’m being radicalized slowly, but by the referees, not all of you.

Holl will still be in the box at the start of the second period.

Thoughts

  • It’s not tripping
  • Maple Leafs largely pick up where they left off against Canadiens
  • Of course, Florida is a tougher opponent

Second period

Sooooo, uh… the Leafs kill the penalty. And William “I’m cursed” Nylander turns the puck over on a shift with Matthews and Bunting, and, oh my God, that’s the fourth line for the Panthers there.

2-1 Florida

Luostarinen’s Lomberg is exactly what you want to score on your top three strikers. Even I don’t know who these guys are. Nylander was just the latest guy to do something ill-advised with the puck on this play, not the only one.

Matthews gets a solo break, so as you do, he hands it to Marner and no one gets shot.

The Leafs with great pressure and in the corner, a Florida player sent a Leafs guy back to the bench. The whistle sounds, and surprisingly, it’s not the penalty.

It was:

Radko Gudas is a: crazy as hell and b: going to the box and c: trying hard for the extra discipline, and all because he spent 10 seconds in close-up with Michael Bunting.

JT! Whoo hooo, that’s what we like to see, the power of the power play.

Draw

Spencer Knight just lets that bounce show for a bunt single.

The game opened up, sped up, and got a little out of control.

Knight shows post discipline as he barely avoids a dump turning into a goal.

JT part two!

3-2 Sheets

Listen, it’s just a nice pass. Enough said.

Gudas and… wait, who? John Tavares? walk into the corner, and they both leave. I hope Gudas has water now.

JT and Gudas do another dance behind the Florida net, and it’s not the rivalry I expected from these two teams, but it’s definitely fun.

Engvall has two for falling, which would have stumbled if he wasn’t a Leaf. (See, you radicalized me, I never cared about the penalties.)

Marner almost gets a little break – well, he does, he takes the hit – but the period is over.

Thoughts

  • I never noticed Mark Giordano
  • Never. I think that’s probably good because it means he’s not hogging the puck or doing things that we all regret.
  • Jason Spezza, Wayne Simmonds and Colin Blackwell are almost on the bench.
  • Corsi and xG are both 50-50.

Third period

I enjoyed Petr Mrázek in this game. Looks like a series of tough opponents would help him.

The fourth line gets a change, and you instantly know why it’s been a while.

After the fourth-row quarterback, Gustav Forsling floated at high speed all over the team and got a job.

Oh, Mickey that’s really amazing.

4-2 Sheets

More surprisingly, I actually agree with the comment, that Mikheyev pays more attention to the shooting location. If you check out the HockeyViz shooting map it says it is, it’s no coincidence, it’s a real improvement in shooting quality. And no, I don’t think it’s injury related. It’s a brain thing.

Knight scrambles, the Leafs pressure, and they nearly scored fifth on three occasions.

Bunting surprised did not take a penalty for this.

Florida draws Knight with over four minutes left and JT misses the empty net. Well, you’ll have more tries. Four minutes is a long time.

Mrázek makes a good save, and this one is very close to being on the books as a win.

TJ Brodie’s stick breaks through the carbon fiber fatigue and the game goes on.

Wow, Mrázek gets a near-stand after a strong performance here as Florida presses hard.

The leaves fail to clear and they work Mrázek for the last seconds of glory here.

A Matthews ENG makes it 5-2, and that puts him ahead for the Richard. They don’t ask how…

Thoughts

  • Keefe’s formation has worked well and both Tavares and Nylander have had good games in the xG% department.
  • The Leafs didn’t dominate in this game because – why would you think they could? But they played to their strengths and hung on even with the best team in the East.

The Bruins will be next on Tuesday.

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