The Toronto Maple Leafs played about as good of a hockey game as it’s possible to play.
The Arizona Coyotes are icing one of the worst teams in history. They have an absolutely terrible roster, and without any exaggeration on my part, I guarantee that they would lose a seven game series against the Toronto Marlies.
Last night they started a goalie I’d never even heard of before.
His name is Karel Vejmelka, and before last night, he as played 19 NHL games and lost 14 of them. So, to the surprise of no one who has ever cheered for the Leafs, he turned into a superstar for 60 minutes the one time he had to face them.
Perhaps using the powers of the dark arts, Vejmelka, who may in fact be a fictional construct, stunned the Toronto Maple Leafs by making 45 saves and giving the Coyotes what I assume is their first win in a decade.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Coyotes
The Leafs were playing the second night of a back to back, without Mitch Marner. So right there is a built in excuse for them playing poorly. Except, they actually played great. About as good as it is possible to play.
They didn’t care if Marner was there, or if they were tired- they dominated a game against a joke team and should have won by ten or fifteen goals. Maybe twenty. (naturalstattrick.com).
The Leafs had one of their best games ever – it’s not often a veritable All Star team gets to play an AHL team masquerading as an NHL team, and this should have been a care-free goal-fest.
In total, the Leafs attempted 85 shots in this game, which is – I don’t have to say – way , way more than usual. They ended up with 45 shots and at 5v5 they controlled nearly 70% of the game.
Nylander, Tavares and Matthews combined for 17 shots and just one goal.
We know these things happen. Fluky results are always going to be a part of sports, and for any Coyotes fans still paying attention, last night was basically their Stanley Cup. Hell, it might just be the franchises all-time highlight.
You can’t get mad about this result, because I don’t actually think it would be possible for any team to play a better, or more lopsided game. This was a beatdown and the Coyotes wouldn’t win this game again in ten thousand simulations.
The one problem I do have is one of logic and officiating. Tell me, someone, anyone, just how do two teams play 60 minutes of hockey and each take the same amount (two) of minor penalties, when one team has the puck for the entire time?
Not like the Leafs needed the help, but just as a point of concern: it doesn’t seem like it should be possible for penalties to be even in such a game. Does it seem realistic that, despite virtually not touching the puck for 40 minutes, the Coyotes played a perfectly clean game after the first?
Give me a break.