Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Maple Leafs fall apart late in the third period, lose 6-3 to the Senators
By Joseph Zita3 months ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs continued their five-game homestand against the Ottawa Senators last night, which marked the first meeting between the two provincial rivals this season. Toronto was looking to build off their win over the Lightning, where they overcame a 4-1 deficit after the first period. It’s no secret that it’s been a rollercoaster of a season thus far for Toronto, but their opponent, Ottawa, has been on a rollercoaster themselves. So, the Maple Leafs were in for no easy matchup, with both teams were desperate for a win.
Both teams entered this game with the need to have themselves a great showing, as both clubs were looking to find consistency in their game and pick up a win. Ottawa has struggled mightily this season and had dropped five of their last six games heading into this one. Meanwhile, Toronto just snapped their four-game losing streak by overcoming a three-goal deficit after the first period against the Lightning.
It was Toronto opening the scoring first on an early power play after Travis Hamonic was called for interference. It took the top unit not even five seconds to win the face-off and find the back of the net. John Tavares won the draw, Matthews poked the loose puck to Nylander, and he ripped it post and in to extend his point streak to 13 games to open the season. That goal gave Nylander seven on the season and 17 points.
However, just like the game against the Lightning and the Sabres, the Maple Leafs continue to struggle to keep the puck out of their net after they score a goal. Not even two minutes after Nylander gave his team the 1-0 lead on the power play, a point shot from Dominik Kubalik beat Joseph Woll and tied the game back up. After watching the replay, it looks like the shot may have been going a little wide, but Woll went to kick it into the corner, but the puck snuck under his skate and deflected in. Tough break nonetheless, but the goals against following a goal continue with this team.
Toronto had a pretty solid first period, but their start to the second period was the total opposite. It was a mess from the drop of the puck until Ottawa scored to make it 2-1. Mistakes, turnovers, and standing around doing nothing helped the Senators take the lead early in the second period as Claude Giroux roofed his fourth of the season past Woll. However, fortunate for the fans at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto responded relatively fast after going down a goal. The second line, who had generated some scoring chances in the first period, got rewarded with a goal off an offensive zone face-off. Tyler Bertuzzi banged home his third goal of the season to tie this game back up at two, a goal he desparately needed, and Tavares and Nylander each picked up their second point of the night.
With Toronto knotting the game up at two almost immediately, both teams exchanged chances for the next 10 minutes of the period, with both goaltenders standing tall. However, it was Ottawa scoring the next goal to break the tie, and it was another goal Joseph Woll probably wants back. Toronto’s fourth line was doing a solid job in the offensive zone, but once the Senators gained possession and went the other way, it broke down, and they couldn’t clear the puck once Ottawa got in on the forecheck. The puck worked its way from behind the net to the front and Jakob Chychrun one-timed his fifth of the season past Woll to retake the lead.
The third period started great for Toronto as they were trailing by one goal, desperately trying to find the tying goal. Through the first eight minutes, Toronto controlled the play and hemmed Ottawa in their zone multiple times but couldn’t find the back of the net. That was until the new-look third line went to work in transition and finally put one past Korpisalo again. Jarnkrok found Domi streaking into the offensive zone, and while Domi was attacking the zone, he got tripped up but still managed to get back on his feet to feed a backhand saucer pass to Robertson, and he made no mistake whacking in his first of the season to tie the game up 3-3.
That’s now two points (one goal and one assist) for Nick Robertson since being called up.
It felt like Toronto could’ve scored the next goal, given their strong start to the period, and finally walked away with a respectable win at home without allowing four or more goals. Wrong! In a short span of just three minutes, roughly four minutes after Robertson tied it up, the Senators would put three goals past Woll to take a commanding 6-3 lead with five minutes left.
An ultimate, embarrassing, poorly-timed choke by the Maple Leafs sees them drop their fifth game in their last six and fall to 6-5-2 on the season. It was truly, without a doubt, a terrible second half to the third period that lost them this game. There are still glaring issues with this team, and until they fix it, this team won’t change and will continue to struggle to string wins together.
Brad Treliving made a mess with some of the contracts he signed, and he needs to be the first one to admit it and make a trade to fix it.
Who stood out:
Some players looked good last night despite the 6-3 loss, but first, let’s quickly discuss who didn’t look good. Joseph Woll did not have it last night. That was evident. There were about three or four goals he should’ve had, and that fourth goal going off Giordano’s skate that started the choke by Toronto in the third period didn’t help either.
John Klingberg. I won’t spend too much time talking about him because it’s just beating a dead horse at this point, but it’s time to move him. Find a trade partner that will take him off your hands or include him in a package deal where you’re upgrading at the position, even if you’re paying a lot. You need help on the blue line immediately, and he’s given the opposite so far this year.
In terms of positives, the second line of Bertuzzi, Tavares and Nylander looked fantastic. It’s shocking that they only scored one goal as a line last night, given the scoring chances on Korpisalo. Bertuzzi finally found the back of the net again, and they easily could’ve had one or two more goals as a line. The third line had another solid outing, in my opinion. Although it is a small sample size, Toronto might have a new third line for the foreseeable future. All three guys complement each other well, and moving Domi from the wing to center has worked so far.
Lastly, if you’re looking for the physicality part of the game, Toronto showed up in that department. They were credited with 43 hits last night, which set a season-high in a game. They have registered 107 hits over their last three games against the Sabres, Lightning and Senators and are currently one of the highest-hitting teams in the NHL this season.
You can catch the Toronto Maple Leafs’ next game on Friday on TSN4 against the Calgary Flames. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT.
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