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Leafs Postgame: Dermott Injured, Leafs Dominate

Tonight, the Maple Leafs played the Edmonton Oilers tonight at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

This game was billeted as a fierce boxing match between McDavid and Matthews, two of the brightest stars in the NHL today. However, in truth, there’s more than two players in this game and ultimately, the rest will have more to do with what happens than will the best.

What remains true is that this promised to be an exciting contest.

The Leafs were without Nazem Kadri, who remains out with a concussion since playing the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, February 27th, as well as Jake Gardiner, who misses his first game of the season with an extended injury to his back.

The Oilers were without depth forwards Jesse Puljujarvi and Jujhar Khaira.

1st period

The Oilers came out swinging in the first period, as they showed off the seemingly-rocket-boosted skates of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Their ability to drive into the Leafs’ zone was certainly causing issues.

At one point, the Oilers boasted a 14-2 advantage in shots on goal, largely led by their two top players rushing the zone hard.

That very thing led to the opening goal, as a long and powerful drive by Draisaitl beats some poor defending by Muzzin and Hainsey, and was capped off by an impressive tap in off of his own rebound.

Toronto didn’t let that stand very long, though. Before the end of the period, minutes later, the Leafs had a powerplay and just as that advantage expired, Marleau found a loose puck and buried it past Mikko Koskinen to tie the game.

The period ended not long after, at 1-1. The final shots-on-goal tally was 16-10 in the period, and this heat map (courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com) shows that the Leafs’ chances were far more dangerous than those of the Oilers:

2nd period

This period showed a completely different narrative, as Toronto’s offensive prowess began to show its true colours.

This good strong pass by Zach Hyman for the tip by Mitch Marner opened the slaughter up:

Then it was Johnsson with a beautiful move in tight to cap off a great passing sequence from Matthews and Kapanen:

And then it was William Nylander beating Koskinen high, on what probably should have been a save-able shot, but some deserved shooting luck for the shooting-percentage-maligned Nylander:

This one was that last straw for Mikko Koskinen, who was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 16 shots.

For a fifth goal of the night for Toronto, and his own second goal of the contest, it was Andreas Johnsson on repeat beating the fresh Anthony Stolarz:

AND THIS WAS ALL IN THE FIRST 10 MINUTES OF THE PERIOD!! Please forgive the excitement.

There was also a scary moment in the period, where Kasperi Kapanen went flying into the boards after a skate-on-skate collision. He left the game but luckily he returned later in the period, seemingly okay.

The period ended there with the Leafs leading 5-1, a dominating lead over Edmonton.

3rd period

Early in the final frame, 25 seconds to be exact, John Tavares fires a beautiful bar-down shot on the short 5-on-3 powerplay that makes the score a relentless 6-1:

The rest of the game dragged in some fashion, as both teams accepted their fate in this one.

Dermott Injury

Some goonery occurred, though, as you hate to see at any time, but especially so in such a lopsided game. Brad Malone hit Travis Dermott from behind and he fell awkwardly on his wrist and left the game.

Kapanen also took multiple bumps and bruises tonight, and Matthews had a blocked shot off of the side of his skate that looked uncomfortable. All three situations will be interesting to monitor going forward, and could present some critical issues for the Leafs.

Update:

The Oilers did manage to squeak out a contentious but ultimately meaningless goal late in the game, on this play by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins:

The final score in this one was 6-2 for the Maple Leafs in this rout.

Who wore the Crown?

After every Leaf game, we’re recognizing one Leaf player who best exemplified what it means to play hockey the “Toronto Way”: with heart and soul, above all else. Who wore the Crown is brought to you by Crown Royal, passionate fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Tonight’s Crown-wearer definitely goes to William Nylander. He’s been in control of this game from the very start, even when the Leafs looked unable to control the top-heavy Oilers.

With a goal and two assists in this one, Nylander wears the crown.

Honourable mention goes to: the entire Leafs lineup tonight.

Final Thoughts

This was a top down beating from the start of the second period by Toronto. Everyone on the Leafs was in top form and eliminated the Oilers’ attack.

While not the most difficult challenger in the league, taking down such a potent offensive threat in McDavid, limiting him to no points, was a success.

Stay tuned for another Leafs game tomorrow night, when the Leafs head to Long Island for John Tavares’ return to face the New York Islanders. See you there, and go leafs go!