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Photo Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Leafs Postgame: Leafs Beat Red Wings In A Gunslinging Contest

Tonight, the Leafs took on the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit for their 5th game of this 2018-19 season.

The Leafs are having an incredible run so far, averaging 5 goals per game in their first 4 games. The scoring talent on this team is incredible, and the Red Wings seem like an easy target. However, they’re also allowing 3.75 goals per game.

This is all reminiscient of the 2016-17 season, drawing out the hilarious and iconic quote from Babcock, “It’s kinda fun eh? But it’s dumb.”

On the other end of the spectrum, the Wings have scored 2 goals in each of their 3 games so far this year. They’re allowing, similar to the Leafs, 3 goals per game.

The major change from the Leafs’ previous game versus Dallas is that Martin Marincin draws in for Igor Ozhiganov.

Let’s dive into how this particular game played out.

1st Period

The Leafs got off to a quick start, as Auston Matthews tore into the Red Wings zone and just barely missed a chance off of his incredible shot.

As things settled down, the Red Wings found themselves on a 3-on-1 chance, and the defenseman Nick Jensen ripped a great shot past Frederik Andersen at around 13 minutes to go:

As the period clawed on, there was some tenacity in the Leafs-Red Wings rivalry for the first time in a while, as Danny Dekeyser and Josh Leivo drop the gloves. I’d call it a draw.

In the last 5 minutes of the period, Morgan Rielly’s ridiculous point-getting stretch continued on as he fired home the Leafs first of the night, from Mitch Marner and John Tavares:

After a great pad save to deny Andreas Anthanasiou, the period ends with the score tied 1-1.

2nd Period

The second segment of this game began with the Leafs putting pressure back onto the Red Wings. Morgan Rielly had a chance to continue his point gathering with a good Auston Matthews chance that missed.

The Leafs would eventually capitalize on the pressure, though, on a great forecheck by John Tavares and a great pass by Hyman to find a wide open Mitch Marner in front of the net to make it 2-1:

After a couple great chances already in this game, Auston Matthews finally finds the back of the net on the lauded Leafs powerplay unit, well set up by Rielly and Kadri:

That goal made it 3-1 for the Maple Leafs, and that is how the 2nd period ends.

3rd Period

The 3rd period started with some minor calamity as the Red Wings hit consecutive posts, saving Andersen’s bacon:

The Red Wings are able to claw back in this game, though, as Nick Jensen has his second goal of the game, after a great save by Frederik Andersen. This was a really terrible example of team defense, as a harder effort from either Matthews or Kapanen could have easily prevented this.

Matthews made up for his defensive lapse, though, as on the powerplay not long after the Red Wings goal, Matthews finds the back of the net for his 2nd of the night.

The Wings got themselves back into this game once again, though, as a shot from the point just squeaks by Andersen to bring the game to 4-3. The goal was credited to Tyler Bertuzzi.

There was a ton of pressure at the end of the game, as the Red Wings had the extra skater, but the Leafs would close the game out with a 200ft empty net goal from Ron Hainsey, ending the game at 5-3.

Final Thoughts

This was an exciting game throughout with plenty of chances for both teams. The Leafs’ scoring efficiency wins out yet again, but to be in this kind of shootout game with the Wings is stressful to say the least.

The Matthews line and the Tavares line were obviously very effective offensively, and the powerplay was on fire yet again. The bottom 6 really struggled to get anything going, though I thought Josh Leivo had a pretty effective game.

The defense was what it has been all season: chaotic. Babcock will undoubtedly be putting the pressure on the team to correct some of these mistakes, and to simply give more effort on the defensive side of the puck.

My three stars for the night:

  1. Nick Jensen
  2. Mitch Marner
  3. Morgan Rielly

The Leafs play next on Saturday night, Hockey Night in Canada, taking on their playoff competitor for 2 years running, the Washington Capitals. Puck drop at 7pm Eastern time. See you there, and go Leafs go!

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