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Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Goal Analysis – Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets Play-In Game #5

Welcome to the beginning of the end!

Post-game highlights can be found here.

Blue Jackets 1st Goal – Zach Werenski (Unassisted)

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Blue Jackets dump the puck into the Leafs zone, Dermott retrieves the dump-in and reverses it to Hyman on the right wing boards. Hyman gets pressured by Jenner and the puck ends up on Werenski’s stick at the point. Werenski walks in and fires a wrist-shot on net that deflects off of Tyson Barrie’s glove and past Andersen.

The Blue Jackets trademark forecheck helps to create this goal. When Hyman receives the puck along the boards,he’s trying to skate with it back behind the Leafs net. Jenner hits Hyman, knocking the puck loose. Hyman actually regains control of the puck, but then whacks it up the boards to the point to Werenski.

As a minor hockey coach, one of my biggest pet peeves is when the winger skates down too low, retrieves the puck and then passes it up the boards to where they should be, thus giving up possession. Hyman has to regain control of the puck and then send it back behind the net.

Unlucky bounce on the Werenski shot as well, as it bounces off of the glove of Barrie and past Andersen. Pretty much sums up this series in a nutshell.

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Blue Jackets 2nd Goal – Liam Foudy (Assist Nyquist, Jones)

Man this goal was tough to watch. Nyquist dumps the puck into the Leafs zone as both teams start a line change. Foudy is the lone Blue Jackets player to stay and he is able to grab the dump-in. Foudy walks out from the right corner and stuffs a shot five-hole on Andersen.

So many small things happened on this goal that led to Foudy scoring.

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The first one is Holl and Foudy bumping into each other at the Leafs blueline. Whether it was intentional or not by Holl, him bumping into Foudy put him offside and killed the Blue Jackets fast break. This is what forces Nyquist to have to dump the puck in. He has to wait for Foudy to get onside and while that is going on, the Leafs have four guys back in defensive position.

The second breakdown is off the dump-in. Nyquist dumps the puck in along the ice and yet, Andersen doesn’t go out to stop the puck for Marincin. Instead, he stays in his net and the puck goes by both of them and right onto the stick of Foudy. If Andersen goes out to stop this puck, this goal never happens.

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Off the dump-in, the Leafs and Blue Jackets go for line changes. The lone players to stay are Marincin for the Leafs and Foudy for the Blue Jackets. Keep in mind the Blue Jackets bench is also farther away from where the puck is. Now take a look at the screenshot below.

I saw a lot of people questioning why Marincin didn’t attack Foudy on this goal. This is why. The Blue Jackets player at the top of the screenshot beat the Leafs player back into the zone. Marincin is basically playing a two-on-one here. If he attacks Foudy, he’ll just slide the puck over to his teammate in the high slot. I thought Marincin actually played this scenario decently. He takes away the passing lane and forces Foudy to take a low-danger shot.

Unfortunately, this is 100% a goal that Andersen has to stop. It ultimately didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, as his team didn’t score a goal in this game, but nonetheless this is a goal that should not be going in.

I thought this goal looked familiar…

Blue Jackets 3rd Goal – Nick Foligno (Unassisted)

Leafs have the goalie pulled and are playing six-on-five as they try to pull off another miracle comeback. Tavares works the puck down low to Hyman. Hyman skates behind the net and tries a no-look behind the back pass that reaches no one. Foligno picks up the puck and skates past a dead tired Morgan Rielly and ices this game and the series for the Blue Jackets.

Not really much to analyze here. This one was the dagger to the heart.

Closing Thoughts

First off. I just wanted to say thank-you to everyone who read these posts and enjoyed them. These were super fun to write-up and I hope they provided people with a different perspective on how the Maple Leafs played. This season will obviously take a hiatus and will resume whenever the 2021 season commences for the Leafs.

As for my final thoughts on this series. I do believe the Leafs were the better team in this series. They carried the play for large parts of games, they regularly out shot the Blue Jackets, they held leads, they played defense (at times). But ultimately, they were not the better team when it mattered. Yes Korpisalo and Merzlikins played really well in this series. But you gotta find a way to win.

We have just completed season four of the Auston Matthews era and the Leafs are still looking for their first series win in the salary cap era. This offseason is going to be interesting, with a flat cap and another disappointing end to a season. I’m both excited and scared to see what the lineup looks like for game one next season.

All I do know though is you should stay tuned to theleafsnation.com all offseason long, because we are going to be bringing you guys a lot of content.