At the end of a long road trip, a bad 2nd period and costly mistakes in the 3rd take down the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 in Vancouver.
The PK has struggled against Vancouver and let in two more PP goals last night. The goal of note here was the Boeser goal as it was a complete breakdown defensively. He was able to get behind the Toronto Maple Leafs off the rush and easily tap one in back door.
It seemed like a harmless rush with no numbers but both Brodie and Marner just didn’t have enough awareness on the play, and Boeser found himself magically alone in front for the easy tap in.
The Leafs then battled back, thanks in part by the great play of Andersen, and had the lead 2-1 going in to the 3rd. Uncharacteristically, the Leafs failed to shut it down, as three costly errors quickly turned this game in Vancouver’s favor.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Canucks
First, Nylander took a delay of game penalty for flicking a backhand out of the arena. He wasn’t under any duress at the time, and it was really just a bad bounce off Nylander’s stick, but Horvat capitalized on the PP with a nice tip in front, and that tied the game. 46 seconds later, the Leafs turn the puck over, didn’t properly gap up to defend the rush, and a bounce goes right to J.T. Miller for the tap in. Vancouver now has the lead 3-2. Two costly errors and Andersen didn’t have a chance on either goal.
Lastly, only down by a goal with plenty of time left in the game, Marner flies up the middle with possession and attempts a drop pass to Matthews that missed the mark near the Canucks blueline, and the Canucks go the other way with numbers. Hoglander rips it past Andersen to put his team up 4-2 with a great shot.
The Leafs generated some pressure late with the extra attacker but came up empty.
Keefe summed the game up perfectly during the post-game;
“I thought we had an excellent start to the 3rd period, our 2nd period wasn’t very good at all, started off the 3rd period really well, all the things that we wanted to do with the lead and I thought we gave ourselves a few chances even to extend the lead. You know…and then we shoot the puck over the glass, give them a free powerplay, and then we just don’t get the kill. Obviously we didn’t get any kills here against Vancouver in these two games.”
“But, it’s a tie game, and we’re on the road at the end of a long road trip with a chance to either win the game or get a point out of it, and then we get back to the things that were a problem for us in the 2nd period. We force a play on the entry, turn it over, and we stopped playing and defending, and that’s the game.”
The win was there for the taking, even under the circumstances of a long road trip and the emotional roller coaster of sweeping the Oilers, but the Leafs just couldn’t take care of the puck during key moments in the game. Credit the Canucks for playing hard and taking advantage of the opportunities the Leafs gave them.
The team is still 18-6-2 and in 1st place, but clearly need a reset here to get back to the details that have enabled them to have so much success. It’s a quick turnaround into a crucial 3 game series against a surprisingly good Winnipeg Jets team that begins at home on Tuesday. It will be a good test for both teams and a barometer series for the Jets, who like Edmonton last week, are probably salivating at an opportunity to close in on 1st place.
Like last week, the Toronto Maple Leafs need be ready to meet that challenge firing on all cylinders, and demonstrate their superiority in the division…again.
Go Leafs Go.