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A Week in Review: What happened with the Maple Leafs?

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins: 4-1 L

Coming into this game, I thought they would play with a little more urgency. As soon as the puck dropped, it was Boston’s game. They controlled play, and did not give the Leafs much room to work with. With a Swayman/Woll matchup, we have two goalies that have great talent in the NHL, and two goalies who very well might meet in the playoffs. With Boston pressuring the Leafs at the beginning of the game, it wasn’t long until they struck first. Morgan Geekie, the first goal scorer of the game, took a pass from David Pastrnak and quickly gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Only a few minutes later, the Bruins struck again on the powerplay. Pavel Zacha tipped it in front from another pass from David Pastrnak, to increase the lead to 2-0.

The rest of this game was not fun to watch. The Maple Leafs just did not have it. The final score ended up being 4-1, and it was another rough game from Liljegren and Brodie.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Buffalo Sabres: 2-1 SOW

This game was a lot tighter, yet a lot worse overall. The Leafs and Sabres started off along the same track, with the Leafs getting a couple weak shots off early in the first. Buffalo went a couple minutes without a shot, and even when they got shots off, they weren’t effective. The first period was very uneventful. Not a lot of shots and not a whole ton of opportunities from both sides. One thing to note throughout the game is the play of Timothy Liljegren. He hasn’t been playing the best, and especially this close to the trade deadline, the Leafs could look to move him for a better defenseman for a playoff run.

Quickly into the second, William Nylander gives the Leafs the lead for the first time in the game. Not too long after, Victor Olofsson scores a greasy goal to tie the game, and the tie runs all the way through the rest of the game. The Leafs turned the puck over quite a bit throughout the rest of the game, with no look passes from Mitch Marner highlighting the turnovers. The rest of the game was really uneventful. Sometimes games just aren’t that interesting, both teams not really playing that well and it’s just a game. In overtime, with great saves from Ilya Samsonov and close calls on both sides, Auston Matthews finds himself in the slot with a pass from Mitch Marner, and he rifles it into the net and gives the Leafs the win. On the first night of a back-to-back, the Leafs squeak through with the wind. Joseph Woll goes against Boston at TD Garden the following night.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins: 4-1 L

This game was a feisty one. Both teams were scrappy all game and there were penalties to go around. I didn’t catch much of this game, but I’m happy I didn’t since it was a brutal game for the Buds. The Leafs went down 1-0 going into the first intermission. 4:16 into the second period, Frederic scored his 17th goal off of a breakaway (that Woll should have had) and gave his team a two-goal lead after Nylander committed a brutal turnover. After Marner received a feed off the boards and beat Swayman for his 25th goal, the Maple Leafs got their first, and only goal of the game. The rest of the game was a Toronto massacre.

“They made it hard on us to create offense,” Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly said. “They manage the puck and don’t make a lot of mistakes.”

Like I mentioned, the biggest note of the game was the physicality. Boston and Toronto fought each other multiple times. Over the course of 30 minutes, 19 penalties were committed by both teams. Swayman once challenged Woll to a keeper brawl while standing close to mid ice, but the Toronto goalie was not interested in trading blows. Bertuzzi fought and won by a mile, and Jake McCabe dished out a couple mouthfuls of cross checks to a couple Bruins. A scrappy game was really just that. The Leafs got outplayed for 60 minutes and didn’t really have any pushback. We’ll see where they go from here.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens: 3-2 W

A battle between two rivals is always a fun matchup to see. Unfortunately for this game there weren’t many eventful things going on. One thing I always love about watching Habs games is their building is always rocking. Early to start the game, the defensive mishaps already start showing as the Habs knock one in 38 seconds into the game. Mike Matheson with the zone entry off a Lyubushkin turnover, and the puck finds his stick again as he scores right away. One note of this game, Keefe scratched Simon Benoit in theory of keeping Liljegren in the lineup for this game. Boy did he ever make a wrong decision. Defense was a problem here in the first, with Nylander playing like garbage all throughout the period.

Early in the second, the makeshift line of Knies, Kampf, and McMann start off, and on a 2-on-1 rush, McMann scores to tie the game at 1 all. The second period for the Buds was a lot better, they had better chances and just overall better shifts. Later in the period, former Hab Max Domi had a breakaway and just sneaked it behind Sam Montembeault to give the Leafs a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission. Before we went off to the panel, there was a big scrum after the whistle that would deal both teams a couple penalties, but the Habs would get an additional penalty to give the Leafs the man advantage heading into the third.

All penalties killed, the Leafs entered the offensive zone, and Jake McCabe took a wrister just below the blue-line, and on the doorstep was Leafs captain John Tavares who shoveled it home to give the Leafs the 3-2 lead. That goal proved to be the game winner, and the Leafs are now back in the win column. That goal gave Tavares his 20th of the campaign, and his 400th point as a Maple Leaf. The final 3 minutes of the game the Habs had the extra attacker, and yet they could not find the back of the net. While it was not the best win, it was a win nonetheless. The Leafs are back in action 03/14 @ Philadelphia.


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