Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Leafs Postgame: Frking with the Red Wings

Well, that was… something.

After an excellent win on the road in Washington, the Leafs played a solid enough game to outscore a below average performance from Curtis McElhinney, all while not getting caved in possession wise on the second half of a back to back. They also lit up Howard bad enough, it’s hard to tell if his face was red from sweat, embarrassment, or a sunburn.

1st Period

Ok, let’s get this out of the way. The Leafs played terrible in the first. They got outshot 10-5, and lost the shot attempts battle 18-8 at even strength. Yeah, they were tired and on the second half of a back to back, but they were still brutal. Luckily for them, there were two players who did worse than them. Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek.

After the Red Wings dominated the play early on in the game, the Leafs finally got their first shot of the game nearly six minutes in… and scored. He wired it short side past Howard, and made it 1-0.

It took only 43 seconds after Kadri’s goal for the Leafs to beat Howard again, as after a 20-30 second stretch where the Leafs had the puck, a Morgan Rielly shot was deflected by Zach Hyman and in to make it 2-0.

Ok, up 2-0, good start. Maybe we can take it a bit easier, especially since we’re already tired. Not “let Henrik Zetterberg skate in the zone, and score an empty net wrap-around goal” take it easy, but you can lighten up a little bi- oh god.

Yeah, that was not pretty. The defense showed their exhaustion, and McElhinney not exactly giving fans confidence to start his season.

But, it looks like the Toronto Maple Leafs are at it again. Less than three minutes after Zetterberg’s goal, Matthews walks in and fires another short side shot past Howard, and that would be it for Howard’s night, as he left the game with one whole save.

Petr Mrazek got his introduction to the Maple Leafs this season the same way most goalies have… by getting scored on immediately. Connor Brown fired the world’s most random shot, and it snuck through Mrazek and in to give the Leafs a 4-1 lead.

And that was all she wrote, the Leafs have never blown a 4-1 lead, so this game is in the bag. Even if they do, the Leafs will just outscore them again.

2nd Period

Here’s the beauty of Curtis McElhinney: he reminds us why we like Freddy so much. Why’s that? Because Freddy is good at making saves. You know, actually stopping the puck. McElhinney, on the other hand, looks like he just happened to get in the way of the puck on its way to the net.

Early in the second period, it’s the Leafs that are flying out of the gate. And this time, it was the Leafs who were getting little to no goaltending. Seven minutes in, McElhinney lets loose the mother of all rebounds off of a Tomas Tatar shot, and Tatar buries his own rebound to make it 4-2.

A minute and 34 seconds later, Jonathan Ericsson wired a shot past McElhinney, but it was reviewed for interference. After looking it over a couple times, the refs realized that the only thing preventing McElhinney from stopping the puck was his goaltending abilities.

But, about five minutes after that, the Leafs responded again with another goal, only needing 18 seconds of power play time to score, as Morgan Rielly fired home his first of the year to give the Leafs a bit more of a stable lead going into the third.

3rd Period

All that build up, and… nothing in the third. The Leafs played a solid enough period to not allow anymore goals, and they even got an empty net goal late in the third to boot.

At least, I think they played good enough. I don’t know, my Gamecentre crapped out, so I think I saw a solid three minutes where it wasn’t frozen.

And until next time…







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  • Matmarwill

    Scott, you are too hard on mcelhinney. They won the game. He stopped 27 out 30 shots and i think at this point his save percentage is 1 pt higher than freddy’s. If you look at curtis’ save percentage over the past five years he has been above replacement value all years except 15/16 (a brutal year for the jackets).

    This team is fun, and brownie’s goal was a snipe just inside the post after putting on the breaks, no randomness at all. People forget that connor won the chl scoring championship just a few years ago. He can score. Great addition to this young core. Two game winning goals in a row! Wow, what depth.

  • FlareKnight

    McElhinney looked bad on the goals he let in. But he did also make some huge saves.

    I’m sure Andersen would have won making fewer saves, but the backup did his job. He stopped more pucks than the other two guys.

  • lukewarmwater

    Curtis after 3 weeks of fighting cob webs did look a bit rusty but he was hung out to dry on some occasions. As Flare said he got the win and as the back up that is what we desire and need. How many points did that sieve Enroth cost us last year. Moses, Nylander and Hyman were flying out there tonight as they terrify opposition goalies.
    Matthews ability to let that powerful wrist shot go at any time is similar to a pitcher quick pitching to a batter as he is totally leaving the goalies unprepared. It is truly an amazing gifted talent to be able to stick handle like that in traffic and then just let those muscular wrists wire that puck past the startled goalies. Go leafs Go.

    • AussieBoy

      Spot on Brother.
      I felt,as well that McElhinney made a couple of bad choices/saves but he mostly played real well.He positioned himself well, except for the wraparound….

      But Damn,faults and all,the Leafs are looking so good.It’s gonna be a great year,no matter what.
      Go Leafs Go.

  • jimithy

    I was glad to see Rielly take my advice and shoot on the net instead of into some random corner.
    The next thing, Morgan, is to work on putting a little more zip on your shots. Then, we can work on executing a play.