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Leafs Post Game: Johnsson Hurt, Tavares hits 30 goal mark in loss to Coyotes

After an extremely boring and disappointing loss to the Florida Panthers on Friday, the Leafs were coming into this game with a huge chip on their shoulder. This game is huge for a few players in particular: Matthews, playing his hometown team; Nylander, who had been demoted to the fourth line; and Dermott, who saw an increased role due to the late injury from Gardiner.

Andreas Johnsson Injury

While there has yet to be an update on his status long term, Johnsson missed the third period of the game due to a concussion. The fact that the Leafs are openly admitting that it’s a concussion means that more likely than not, we won’t be seeing him on Wednesday against the Capitals. At least we have more than a week off after that to give him recovery time.

1st Period

Whatever Babcock said to the Leafs after Friday’s game, or before this game, it seemed to have worked. The Leafs came flying out of the gate, and played arguably their best first period of the season. Sure, the Coyotes aren’t an amazing team, but a team like the Leafs *should* be destroying teams like the Coyotes every period.

And their hard work paid off, as Nylander won the puck battle near the blue line, and set Dermott up for a… floater goal. Not the prettiest way for Nylander to get back on the score sheet, but if anything, this is showing that his luck is starting to change for the better.

The Leafs continued to dominate play and get chances, but it was the Coyotes that had the best chance of the period, as Alex Galchenyuk (remember him?) made an excellent drive to the net, and nearly tied it, but Freddy remained steady, and the Leafs went into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.

2nd Period

However good the Leafs were in the first, they were that bad in the second, as it seemed like they could get nothing going, even on their lone power play of the period (that’s right they actually had a power play for once). A poor line change resulted in the first Coyotes goal, and a lethal shot from Keller resulted in the second, and the Coyotes were the ones with the lead, up 2-1 going into the third.

3rd Period

The Leafs got a bit of life early in the third, as John Tavares fired one on the net, and it trickled through Darcy Kuemper and in to tie the game for the Leafs. This was also Tavares 30th goal of the season, taking him only 48 games to reach this milestone.

But, any life that was gained was shortly squashed by a Vinnie Hinostroza goal to give the Coyotes the lead, and the game winning goal. An empty netter from Lawson Crouse would seal the deal, and the Leafs would lose 4-2 to the Arizona Coyotes.


via NaturalStatTrick.com

As frustrating as this game was, the Leafs mostly dominated the play, noticeably in the first half when they were either tied or leading. The Coyotes blocked a lot of shots, and the bounces just didn’t go their way. It’s EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING, but it happens, especially when you went on a PDO bender to start the season.

In fact, the lowest CF% on the team tonight was Johnsson with a 52.63%, so the Leafs weren’t struggling by any means. They just couldn’t buy a goal, and Freddy wasn’t in peak form in this one. It happens.

On the bright side, Nylander looked great tonight, so I doubt we see him on the fourth line for a while. Dermott was mostly fine, but it would’ve been great if his controller didn’t die on the 3-2 goal.

Also, refs, can you please start giving the Leafs some calls from time to time. It’s painfully obvious what you’re doing, so maybe you guys should actually do your jobs for once when you come to Toronto.

Anyways, the Leafs have one more game before the All Star break/bye week, and that’s on Wednesday against the Washington Capitals, so hopefully the Leafs can get a win before they take a break.

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