Maple Leafs narrowly defeat Senators but lose Joseph Woll to injury

Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
2 months ago
After an extended period between games, the Toronto Maple Leafs returned to action last night in Ottawa to take on their provincial rival, the Ottawa Senators, as they looked to get back in the win column. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means, but the Maple Leafs found a way to come out on top with their first regulation win in almost three weeks.

First period:

Toronto needed to come out in this game with a lot of jump, given they lost a close one to the Boston Bruins last Saturday 4-3 in overtime, and as a matter of fact, they did not start the game entirely on time. Ottawa started the game out-shooting Toronto 5-0 through the first five minutes and generated the better scoring chances, including this robbery of a save from Joseph Woll.
It was a great save, but it didn’t wake the Leafs up. The Senators would continue to out-shoot and out-chance Toronto for the remainder of the first period. Now, Toronto hadn’t played in almost a week. But at the same time, we’ve seen this team do this many times. They come out slow and sloppy against teams beneath them in the standings, especially against Ottawa.
Toronto eventually found their feet toward the end of the period, and started to generate more chances on Anton Forsberg. They were even rewarded with a late power play as Ridly Greig was whistled for boarding. However, the Maple Leafs’ power-play struggles continued, and they couldn’t capitalize on the man advantage. With 25 seconds to go in the period, Max Domi turned the puck over, and Josh Norris went five-hole on Joseph Woll to give his team the 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Second period:

After a slow first period, the second period began with the expectation that the Leafs would have some more urgency. Just under two minutes into the period, Morgan Rielly collected the loose puck in his zone and sprung Mitch Marner on a breakaway, and he didn’t miss from that close as he sniped his ninth of the season past Forsberg to even the game at one.
With a goal finally on the board for the road team, the chances kept coming for them. Vladimir Tarasenko had another glorious look for his team, but Woll was there to rob him a second time in spectacular fashion.
Although Toronto was stuck at only 12 shots with roughly five minutes to go in the period, they generated more chances and had more offensive zone time than the first. The only problem was they couldn’t get pucks through to Forsberg and either missed the net or rang the iron.
With two and a half minutes to go, Joseph Woll made another spectacular save to keep the game tied at one, and as the Maple Leafs went the other way, David Kampf scored an ugly goal to give his team the late lead.
Despite being out-shot 24-13 through 40 minutes, Toronto entered the second intermission up 2-1 and on the penalty kill after Conor Timmins was whistled for tripping.

Third period:

Although they were getting outplayed up to this point, Toronto had reasons to build on their first 40 minutes. They were winning 2-1 heading into the third period and were getting carried by their goalie at times. It’s not like Toronto looked terrible and didn’t generate anything. They had less than 15 shots, which isn’t ideal, but they generated many chances that missed the net or got blocked.
Just 3:35 into the period, a broken stick benefited the Maple Leafs, and they took advantage of the situation. The third line of Robertson, Domi and Jarnkrok went the other way in transition and gave their team a two-goal lead. Robertson fed Domi, who then fed Jarnkrok backdoor for an easy tap-in and his sixth of the season. If you read my pregame article for this game, you would know I mentioned the third line as a line to watch out for.
Jarnkrok’s goal to go ahead by two goals didn’t last long. Jacob Bernard-Docker shot one from the point and score his first-career NHL goal just under two minutes after Toronto made it 3-1. Unfortunately, what looked like a harmless play as the puck was floated on Woll, he made an awkward save and went down in pain. He needed assistance getting off the ice, and backup Martin Jones came into the game with just over nine minutes remaining to make his debut as a Leaf.
With a new goalie between the pipes and making his Maple Leafs debut, Toronto needed to play a smart and conservative nine minutes to come away with the win. Well, just over two minutes after Jones entered the game, Nylander attacked the offensive zone and wire his 13th of the season past Forsberg to retake the two-goal lead.
Up by two goals for the second time, it was only a matter of time until the Senators pulled within a goal again, and that’s what happened. With under two minutes to go in the game, Claude Giroux got his team within one goal with his eighth of the season, and there was that little voice in Maple Leafs fan’s heads saying, ‘What if they blow this lead?”
Luckily, Martin Jones and the team shut it down for the last minute and a half to come away with a gutsy win on the road over a divisional rival.

Who stood out:

It would be impolite of me not to start this by praising Joseph Woll’s effort in this win. Although he wasn’t credited with the win and had to leave the game midway through the third period, the 25-year-old was spectacular last night, saving 29 of 31 shots, including three highlight-reel saves (two on Tarasenko). It’s unknown how much time he’ll miss after going down in the game, but the Maple Leafs will be without a big part of their team for the foreseeable future.
Outside of Woll’s performance, I don’t think anyone else stood out to me that much, and it’s wild to say when Toronto scored four goals, but outside of those goals, Toronto got outplayed for almost the entirety of the game.
You can catch the Toronto Maple Leafs’ next game Saturday night on Sportsnet when they return home to host the Nashville Predators. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT. 

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