Maple Leafs beat the Islanders and lose in overtime

Come on, come on, come on. Be the best team, Leafs.

First period

Brock Nelson goes down in a confrontation in what looks like a knee lock. Hockey is a strange sport where you can get hurt while standing still.

(I was fine after a trip to the locker room.)

Just an amazing double in the Islanders zone that makes you think the Leafs have “it” back. The islanders survive to face off, but only face Matthews’ line as hunters.

Nylander PING!

The commentators have just spent 25 years discussing every big strongman hit in Islander land, and how smart big strongmen are at hitting, and how special they are and their identity. This is largely because hitting is all they’ve done so far.

Engvall loses the puck on a breakaway and his black hole works fine. The offense dies at his hands.

One of the big strong guys takes Denis Malgin down, so he just gets up and continues on the puck. But let’s face it, when he loses in the offensive zone and no real action ensues, he doesn’t surprise you. Because Malgin is funny, and a bit spark plug, but the goals never happen around him.

With five minutes to go, the islanders have leveled at Corsi, and when he was about to continue his terrible shooting quality, they get one on a shot that deflects past Erik Källgren. Much chasing the midfielder by the Leafs in this case:

1-0 islanders

Jordie Benn goes to hold the stick when Mat Barzal is too much for him.

The Leafs kill him with their usual aggression, and only Barzal makes the team look dangerous as the period ends.

Thoughts

That’s why you play Marner with Tavares:

So after all that rude talk on the broadcast, a Martian watching his first game might say that Mat Barzal is the best player on the Islanders.

This is not annoying at all:

Second period

The Leafs come out strong and there’s exciting play from deep again. If this is going to be a thing, I’m all for it.

Mr. John Tavares ties this game a few seconds after the power play when our old friend Alexander Romanov is in the box.

Tie game.

The Leafs follow up with more relentless pressure.

Great burst on Ilya Sorokin that comes to nothing.

The Leafs go for four forwards and a defender in an offensive zone matchup against the plucky Islanders fourth line. It doesn’t work out right away, but once the extra defender is out for Marner, the puck is in the net courtesy of the Liljegren/Sandin and Auston Matthews pairing.

2-1 sheets

Hey, that was five against five.

Some extremely silly shoving and shoving ends with three guys off the ice and a five-on-five game to end the period. The refs carefully made 1 Bunting = 2 Islanders tough guys, which is a good decision because neither team should be rewarded with this.

Thoughts

  • That period was Leafs’ domain. Sorokin is the reason this game is close.
  • Järnkrok Lane has the second lowest TOI in 5v5 and the most shots and xG.
  • I usually don’t hate streaming and its silly obsessions with pointless trivia like punching and brawling, but in this game it’s driving me crazy.

Third period

Järnkrok (see shooting stats above) replaces Bunting, who is still boxed, and the top lane is pretty good with him there.

Morgan Rielly and Kyle Palmieri collide and it looks painful.

Both have gone to their respective dressing rooms and are slow to return if this is just concussion protocol.

So far, the Leafs are defending very well without Rielly.

Suddenly, a fight breaks out and it’s Rasmus Sandin (really) vs. Oliver Wahlstrom (really twice). Sandin is bleeding for five minutes as the Leafs face four defenders.

The Leafs only need one, though, because somewhere the Islanders got a too many man penalty.

Sheets with multiple chances at the end, but nothing against Sorokin. But all this play in the offensive zone is good.

Järnkrok again almost scores, and then it all goes to hell. Källgren gives away the record and boom.

Tie game.

There was no one to pick up the rebound on Järnkrok’s ruling, and it’s unclear on TV, but it appears Benn simply stepped back and gave up the run against. Maybe he had to, but… it is what it is.

The exciting finale in which both teams hold the puck across the backboards brings it to the losing point.

Thoughts

If you believe enough, Morgan Rielly is fine, but he never came back.

Over time

It doesn’t matter who wins, three against three is the second least important thing in hockey. It only exists to avoid the less important.

Liljegren takes Rielly’s standard place.

Nylander hands the puck to Barzal and Källgren saves his butt.

Mitch Marner hands the puck to Barzal, who luckily for us needs a trade.

The problem is Anthony Beauvillier’s (Barzal-lite) scoring, and the Leafs gave the game away.

What is Keefe saying about hitting yourself? Yes.

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