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Maple Leafs Postgame #45: Leafs vs Jets

Tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Winnipeg Jets for Wednesday Night Hockey.

The Leafs are coming off of a frustrating loss against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but they’ll be hoping to rebound against a Winnipeg team that they’ve had success against in the past.

The Leafs lost the game in a shootout, 4-3.

Here’s 5 thoughts from the game.

Tough Luck for Andersen

After getting pulled against the Oilers on Monday night, Andersen had another rough night. He had allowed 3 goals on 15 shots. Obviously all of the chances were highly dangerous ones, but he didn’t exactly look sharp through the rest of the game.

The first goal for the Jets was some combination of bad luck and bad decision making by Andersen. He trips himself up on the way to stop a dump in he had very little chance of retrieving, and Nikolaj Ehlers is right there to fire it into an empty net.

He earned some luck back late in the game. As we went into overtime, Andersen faced a 2-on-1 that he stopped gloriously, and a breakaway for Mark Scheifele that he was in great position to stop as well.

Cannons are still Firing

On this run of fun, offense-focused play we’ve seen since Sheldon Keefe took over as head coach, the Leafs have been scoring at an unbelievable clip. Tonight, they managed only two. Still, the stars are still firing as Matthews earned his 30th of the season to tie the game at 1’s early in the game.

He also had the game tying goal with 13.9 seconds left in the 3rd period with a cannon of a shot.

Bad Zone Control

Twice the Leafs got caught tonight doing a poor job of controlling the zone.

The first was the second Jets goal, scored shorthanded by Mason Appleton. The Leafs had a pass intercepted in the zone, that they start to recover in the neutral zone. However, Tavares got caught unaware as Appleton stole the puck and went in to score on a breakaway against Andersen.

The second one was the third Jets goal at even strength. Justin Holl pinched deep into the zone and the puck was turned over, leading to a 3-on-1 on which Scheifele scored an easy goal.

Terrible Powerplay

The powerplay was frustrating tonight, as they were pestered by a Jets penalty kill that hasn’t been good this season. They weren’t able to score on any of their opportunities despite being one of the top units in the league, against one of the worst penalty killing units in the league. The refereeing seemed quite fair honestly, but the Leafs weren’t able to do anything with their powerplay chances.

They even had a chance in the middle of the 3rd period, while they were behind in the game, and looked like an absolute mess.

Missing Muzzin

The Leafs being without Jake Muzzin has been a big hole. Martin Marincin, who is filling in for Muzzin, had a fine game both at 5-on-5 and killing penalties. However, there’s a certain physical presence that the Leafs seem to be missing dearly without Muzzin.

A lot can be made about tough players not being very helpful to your team, but the way Muzzin plays has a certain energy to it that the Leafs don’t have elsewhere in the lineup.

Final Thoughts

This was the kind of game that deserved a shootout. It wasn’t all that exciting for either team throughout, except for a delightful 3v3 overtime as always. Unfortunately, despite all the action, the score stayed at 3-3 and went to the shootout where the Leafs lost.

Overall, the Leafs were the better team, but not by as much as they should have been. A lack of ability to score on the powerplay and gifting the Jets easy goals were the daggers that killed the Leafs tonight.

The Leafs play next on Sunday for some stupid reason, where they take on the Florida Panthers in sunny Florida, 7 p.m. Eastern time.