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Photo Credit: Aaron Doster / USA TODAY Sports

Leafs Postgame: No L’s, just Wumbus

Eric Fehr makes his debut as a Maple Leaf as Toronto travels to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets. One of the toughest matchups in the remainder of the Leafs’ playoff push, we should be in for a very entertaining matchup.

1st period

The Blue Jackets look like the dangerous team we were promised early in the 1st period, controlling a lot of the play.

An offensive push for the Jackets with Foligno getting behind the backchecking forward Komarov saw Foligno getting thrown heavily into the boards after an overzealous attempt to get the puck by Komarov. Foligno left the game, but returned a few minutes later.

On a good forecheck by the Leafs, Kadri takes advantage of a whiffed clear by Zach Werenski and finds Leo Komarov in front of the net, who beats Korpisalo high. This gives the Leafs the ever-important first goal and the 1-0 game.

The Leafs brought some physicality from the fourth line, and Connor Carrick, who dropped the shoulder into a big hit. The Jackets were not pleased, and took exception. The ensuing kerfuffle puts the Jackets shorthanded.

On the powerplay, there was one gorgeous chance for Connor Brown which was stopped by Korpisalo. A second great chance in front for Mattthews is initially stopped as well, but he finds his own rebound to give the Leafs a 2-0 lead.

Another powerplay would be effectively killed off by the Jackets, and the period would soon come to an end. But not before an excellent back-and-forth series of action for the last minute of the 1st. The period ends, 2-0 for the Maple Leafs.

2nd period

Just seconds after the period began, a cannon fires as David Savard got the Jackets on the board on a strong cycle. The game draws closer, 2-1 for the Leafs.

A few minutes later, after another failed Leafs powerplay, the Blue Jackets get the forecheck and cycle going again. The puck gets passed up to the point and Werenski puts a puck where Saad can tip it home, and the game is tied 2-2.

Later, a really long shift in the offensive zone for the Leafs doesn’t end fruitfully, but is encouraging all the same. But, the Jackets followed up with a similar extended shift of their own.

A strange but fun play for the Leafs, as Nylander gets tripped up at the defending blue line. This puts him behind the Jackets’ defence, where he receives a pass, goes for a breakaway, and fires a gorgeous shot top shelf. 3-2 Leafs.

3rd period

Early in the 3rd period, on some sustained pressure by the Jackets, Roman Polak makes a terrible hit from behind on Oliver Bjorkstrand and is ejected from the game. The Leafs, however, were successful in killing the 5 minute major penalty.

The Leafs made the decision not to have anyone serve the Polak penalty. This lead to a circus when the penalty ended, as no one was in the box to come on the ice. For some reason, the Leafs were not allowed to play someone off of the bench instead, so they played an extra two minutes shorthanded after the initial 5 minutes. Still unharmed.

A long time of the 3rd was spent in the Leafs zone, with score effects starting to take over the game.

Late in the period, a loose puck lands right on Kadri’s stick at the side of the home plate, and beats Korpisalo. The goal was challenged by Tortorella, but was ruled onside.

The Blue Jackets were desperate to get back in the game and pulled their goalie with over 3 minutes left in the game. But, the Leafs would capitalize and fire the puck into the empty net. 5-2 Leafs.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This was a really good result for the Leafs, obviously. Not the best night Corsi wise, especially for the Rielly-Polak pair and the Bozak and Matthews lines.

My three stars for the night are:

  1. Nazem Kadri
  2. William Nylander
  3. Boone Jenner

The Leafs face the New Jersey Devils tomorrow night on the back-to-back, so be sure to check in for our LGD thread tomorrow afternoon.

Goodnight, and go Leafs.

  • DukesRocks

    Great game by the buds. Some shaky moments but overall I love the physicality and speed displayed on the ice. The Polak 5 min major penalty was a head scratcher. The BJ player turned as Polak was delivering the hit. If you’re going to call the penalty it should only be 2 mins. The other thing I don’t get, why was there nobody in the box to cover the 5 min major. If this was Babcocks decision, then I would have to say that was a pure bonehead decision. Maybe, Babs was pissed at the call and decided he was sending the refs a mssg. The forth line looked great with Fehr on it, and moving forward I hope Babs goes with the vet. This was the first time in my opinions I felt like the Leafs played big and held their own on the physical side of the game. They will need to play like that the rest of the way to ensure a playoff birth. Look forward to tomorrows game… hopefully no let down.

  • Drapes55

    The Leafs actually looked like they were playing dare I say it… Playoff hockey tonight. Blocking shots, winning board battles, cycling the puck, throwing the buddy, playing chippy, etc… And I loved every second of it. A few long shifts in their own zone and a few defensive breakdowns but all in all this was a pretty good defensive showing for the Leafs against a surprisingly/sneaky good offensive team. If the Leafs can play with this intensity every night they are gonna turn some heads in the playoffs.

    • lukewarmwater

      Unbelievable 7 minute power play and always, always, always entertaining to see Torts go off his rocker on the Columbus bench. Some unprintable words from the powder keg Tortorella as he moaned and groaned after Polak got a 5 and game misconduct. What did he expect a 7 minute power play?? Well he got it and his teams power play got nullified by the leafs outstanding penalty killing.

      • DukesRocks

        I was wondering why Torts was pissed. Polak got tossed and his team had a 5 min PP. I guess his tantrum paid off, since the Leafs were too busy watching him and forgot to put a man in the box LOL.

  • lukewarmwater

    Well said Dukes, I got a feeling the leafs watched the Raptors game the night before in which the Raptors beat the snot out of the Bulls. The Raptors went from a Lady Byng team of basketball to a tough intimidating, punching squad led by their two additions Ibaka and P.J. Tucker. Got to love a guy named Tucker. You are absolutely right as it was the leafs initiating several bone crushing hits. Got to love that physicality, even Nylander went into a corner and drilled a Columbus player. Speaking of Nylander that goal reminded me of Guy Lafleur flying down the ice and letting that deadly shot go on a helpless goalie.
    What a job Babs has done with Kadri, solid defensively and now a 30 goal man at 4.5 million. An amazing season for number 43. Uncle Leo and Kadri make a great agitating tag team.
    Marner blocking shots and still hustling after the puck after being drilled in the leg. The future captain gets another of his speciality goals on the power play as he will live around the net through out his career. Now up to 33 and obviously over than mini scoring slump. Andersen sooo solid again in the net.
    Big game for our back up who has had some solid games for the club. Who would have thunk 6 – 1- 1 over the past 8 games to leaf frog over the slumping Bruins. Keep it going Leafs, Go leafs Go.

  • STAN

    Excellent point by Dukes about Eric Fehr. He was excellent, elevating the fourth line with his size and smarts. Keep him in an let Soshnikov help out the Marlies.

    • Stan Smith

      You can plainly see in the video when Polak starts the hit he is shoulder to shoulder with Bjorkstrand. Bad call, bad two game suspension. Soshnikov’s hit on Bergeron was worse and he got away scott free.

  • Glen

    Another good win for the buds, lets keep it going, not there yet. How about that Nylander just keeps getting better. I have to take issue with Ryan calling Polak’s hit a “terrible hit from behind”. Polak was simply riding him into the boards and the only reason it was from behind was because the BJ player turned at the last minute.

    • getrdone

      Agree totally Glen, Polak was riding him into the boards when at the last second he turned. The GIF here shows it in slow motion and it was still almost instantanious. Really great game by the Leafs not at all a “lucky to be outa here win”.

  • Brent Wisken

    Great game last night, so fun to watch. Leafs aren’t wilting under the pressure. Five out of six points against top teams – Chicago, Boston, Columbus. Been playoff-type hockey, and the Leafs are stepping up.