A moral victory to anybody who stuck through to the end of that one.
The Toronto Maple Leafs came out swinging in the first period with three goals, got a couple of unlucky ones in the third and went into the third tied 3-3. At that point, many people will blame Ben Scrivens, but the Leafs as a whole were pretty bad. They were eaten alive all game by the top line of the New York Islanders consisting of John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo.
In the end, a 3-1 lead for the Leafs turned into a 7-3 defeat, at the hands of the worst period the Leafs have played all year. I have some data below. Figure out who to point fingers at. (This guy)
-Scoring chance numbers first. Overall, the Leafs “dominated” with 26 scoring chances to the Islanders’ 18. That is a bit dramatic, though, since the Leafs racked up chances, as usual, on the powerplay, where they had another 5-on-3 and even a 6-on-3 at the end as well. That also includes two Phil Kessel chances 6-on-5 when he had his first goal of the year taken away from him by former Toronto Marlie Keith Aucoin.
-At even strength, it was 17-15 for the Islanders, including 8-5 in the third period. However with the score close at even strength, considered a state in the game where the score is within a goal in the first two periods, or tied in the third, the Leafs held a 10-9 chance advantage. They buckled, unfortunately, with the lead and from behind. Not a good trend.
-Matt Moulson, as you’ll see below, absolutely killed the Leafs. Seven of the Isles’ 18 chances came off of his stick, and he was rewarded with two goals. They carved up the Mikhail Grabovski unit in the first period. In the second period, Carlyle had them go up against Tyler Bozak’s line for a few shifts, and the Leafs got carved up even worse. That also led to a couple of match ups where Frans Nielsen, a good possession player, and his line registered some chances. It was not a good night for the Leafs’ top two lines.
-Pretty much the only bright spot for Toronto’s forwards in this one was the play of Nazem Kadri and Matt Frattin, who both had positive scoring chance numbers. Fairly easy minutes, but they made them count. Frattin’s late goal to make the score 6-3 didn’t count for much, but it was sure pretty, and there was a good angle that showed him kick the puck into the air, and then I think he batted at it before it hit the ice and it went top shelf:
(Thanks to Scott Lewis for the GIF)
-The Leafs’ best player was Carl Gunnarsson. I think Dion Phaneuf may be missing him. He’s been getting crushed in scoring chances next to Mike Kostka and Gunnarsson was the Leafs’ only plus-guy on defence in chances (+2). He also helped Mike Komisarek to a +1 in friggin Pittsburgh against Evgeni Malkin. Gunnarsson didn’t have a set matchup, and zone start numbers for individual games aren’t out yet, but I’m willing to bet he saw a lot of defensive zone time.
-The Leafs need a fourth line to play more. Jay McClement, David Steckel and Colton Orr were barely noticeable. Probably because they didn’t get to play.
-This is one to forget. Credit for sticking through. Here are the Leafs’ +/- scoring chance numbers:
|Chances For||Chances Vs.||Chances +/-|
-Here are the Leafs’ individual chance breakdown. The reason these numbers are higher than the chart above is because the chart above only counts 5-on-5 situations. These numbers include powerplay and penalty kill. The Leafs need to fix their powerplay, which is Kessel standing at the circle, and flipping a saucer pass over to Kostka cutting in from the point. That may be the only play with any sort of movement they have in their arsenal and while they theoretically count as scoring chances, they were telegraphed plays and not real powerful shots.
-Anyway, Leafs individual chances:
|Chances Taken||Set Up||Total|
|James van Riemsdyk||2||2|
-Islanders’. Matt Moulson in our nightmares:
|Chances Taken||Set Up||Total|
|NYI (EV)||5 (5)||6 (4)||8 (8)||19 (17)|
|TOR (EV)||10 (6)||5 (4)||11 (5)||26 (15)|