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Photo Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Leafs Postgame: Roman Polak — Elite?

Happy Western Canada swing! This is evidently the Leafs’ first run-in with the Flames this year, and it goes pretty well, all things considered.

The Leafs start off the road trip with a solid 4-1 win, which is not a bad way to open any road trip.

Corsis

(via corsica.hockey)

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1st Period

The game gets off to a pretty sluggish start, with both teams taking some time to settle in.

(Side note: You know, “Nylander works in with Martin and Moore” isn’t my favorite thing in the world to hear. Carrick being healthy scratched in favor of Polak also isn’t my favorite thing, but we can’t always have what we want.)

Anyway, this is going to be one of those nights, because while Mitch Marner was buzzing and had some really nice chances, Mike Smith stopped all of those. Like, Mitch literally could not believe that he did not score.

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Same, Mitch.

And then, because it’s one of those nights, late in the period… Roman Polak scores.

Remember how we thought the Zaitsev goal against Washington was flukey? That goal has nothing on this. Honestly, I’m not sure Polak was even trying to get a puck on net — it looks like he’s trying to dump the puck, or maybe he was trying to shoot and was just inaccurate. Luckily for Polak, Travis Hamonic was standing ten feet away from the net… and yes. You guessed it. The Polak shot pinballs off of Mark Jankowski, then Hamonic, right past Mike Smith.

See, even weirder than you thought, right?

The period would end with Toronto up 1-0.

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2nd Period

Hi, hello, this is a late game, is everyone awake?

FREDDIE ANDERSEN CERTAINLY IS! He comes up with a ten-bell toe save on this Matthew Tkachuk attempt to preserve the Leafs’ lead.

Anyway, hockey is weird because if we had to take bets on who the first two Leafs goal scorers would be in this game, who on earth would have said Polak and Zaitsev? Yeah, Zaitsev gets another after some hard work by Zach Hyman, and just like that, it’s 2-0 Leafs.

That sort of seemed to suck the wind out of the Flames’ sails for a bit, and the Leafs did a good job of not sitting back with the lead. The Flames had a few chances here and there, particularly with the 3M line on the ice, but it amounted to nothing.

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Leo Komarov made a guest appearance on the Matthew Tkachuk friendship tour as time expired in the middle frame, but the Flames were held off the scoreboard and the Leafs went into the third with a two goal lead. Not bad.

3rd Period

The Leafs started the third on the back end of a penalty kill, which is not necessarily the way you want to start a period, but they finish killing it, so no harm, no foul. And then after killing it off, we get a shift of Kadri centering Marleau and Nylander. First of all, nice. Second of all, William Nylander is good at hockey and is also like, trying hard, despite what some people might have you think, and he puts the puck in the slot. Kadri picks it up, shoots, and suddenly it’s 3-0 Leafs.

(Cue the “Go Leafs Go” chants at the Saddledome, by the way.)

That extra insurance goal looked a lot more important a few minutes later, when the Flames finally found the back of the net on a Michael Stone point shot.

And just in case you were feeling too satisfied about this game, which was mostly uneventful, non-angering, and a pretty mundane win overall, Leo Komarov hits an empty net with .9 seconds left. Which doesn’t sound like anything to get worked up about, right?

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WRONG. We have to review it because this empty net goal to make a 3-1 game 4-1 might have been offside, and this is why we can’t have nice things.

(Goal stands. Leafs win 4-1.)

Bits and Pieces

  • No Jagr 🙁 He missed the game due to a lower body injury.
  • Hope Sam Bennett is okay. He blocked a Freddie Andersen clearing attempt, which is good. He blocked it with his FACE, which is much less good.
  • Auston Matthews was held without a shot on goal for the first time in his NHL career, WHICH IS JUST INSANE!!

From the Tweeple

We’re in the darkest timeline. :/

Steve, we know, we get it, but can the hockey gods throw us a bone and help William Nylander score soon?

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A proposal from Dylan Fremlin. Co-signed, endorsed, etc.

://///

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*monkey with hands over mouth emoji*

 


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  • leafdreamer

    Roman Polak is just he best of (I’m counting – Carrick, Marincin, Holl, Valiev, Dermott – that’s 6!) of our legit NHL defencemen beyond the top 5 starters. Martin was the Leafs’ best player tonight in my humble opinion. He’s been playing very well of late and even his Corsi agrees. The Swedish rookie of the year is looking good in North America. The Russian Rocket is starting to look more like the guy that used to score a lot in KHL. All’s right with the world. Mesmerized by the true genius of The Holy Trinity, we sometimes forget how deep our team is. What a beautiful team Lou has built us.

  • lukewarmwater

    Great home win for the leafs or did you not check out those beautiful blue and white jerseys, here, there and everywhere. Roman the Pulveriser Polak using his booming 100 m.p.h. slap shot. It reminded me of Bobby Boomer Baun who suffered a broken leg and then came out in o.t. to score the winner past Sawchuck in the 1964 playoffs as they went on to win the cup.
    The reason Nylander is on the fourth line is because he is playing peripheral hockey, not going into the dirty areas like a Kadri. That being the case similar to last year he has been demoted to the fourth line. Maybe Mat Mauler Martin can kick his butt and get him to use that terrific talent and play a much more gritty game and head to the freaking net.
    Now Freddy was of course Steady. Zaitsev had another solid game, some clueless soul recently wrote a moronic column on our Russian comrade. It is wonderful news that comrade Zaitsev will be colluding with a fellow Russian Comrade defencemen next season.
    On to the almost cellar dwelling Oilers where the thousand and thousands of Mensa leaf fans will be travelling to in order to give the team another home game. Chris Pronger’s wife summed up Edmonton the best. To quote B.T.O. wait till they arrive in Canuckleheadville, BABBBBYYY YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET.

  • Damn Polak looks bad sometimes but seems to come up with a timely goal here and there and is just a beast of a man. I can see why he draws in on slower teams. Thought that was one of the better efforts from the team as a whole this season and I hope it continues in Edmonton.