It was 4-1!
Half way through this one, it looked to be a continuation of the Dallas game, where uncharacteristically poor goaltending ensured every Leaf mistake wound up in the back of the net. Given the context of the 4-1 deficit, it’s hard be disappointed in the (loser) point the Maple Leafs received. Whereas the team folded like a card table once a few things went against them versus Dallas, they battled back admirably in this game and now pass Montreal for third in the division—for the time being.
- Franson-Gleason/Lupul-Kadri-Kulemin started the game in a tentative fashion for the Leafs, who were looking like they didn’t want to make a mistake versus trying to make plays.
- The 4th line had a good night up against the Jets’ fourth line, and got started with a strong cycle shift early.
- Overall, though, the team looked disjointed and conceded one early. A breakdown involving Gleason and the Nik Kulemin, who heard footsteps, led to a Mark Scheifele shot from the slot that trickled through Reimer. Should’ve been stopped.
- The aggressive forecheck of the Jets, who are a fast team, was causing issues for the Leafs D, which looked tentative moving the puck, compounding the problem.
- Just three minutes after the 1-0 goal, Franson got torched on a terrible read. Wheeler timed his entry well as Franson was trying to pivot. Wheeler just walked on Franson and went five-hole on Reimer for another weak-ish goal. Franson was never quick, but is there an injury affecting his ability to pivot? He’s getting exposed and exploited vs. top 6 competition right now.
- The Leafs finally got a little push back from another good 4th line shift, with Ashton as the catalyst (again) and the Leafs completely hemmed the Jets’ fourth line in with dominant board play. Gardiner and Rielly were pinching gratuitously, taking advantage of the Jets’ forwards’ poor foot speed. Afterward, the Leafs got a full line change in and maintained some more zone time.
- Capping off a hell of a period for #4, Franson lost body position on Mark Scheifele and tried to defend on the wrong side of the puck; in a predictable result, he took a hooking penalty.
- A bad start to this period saw the first line hemmed in. After the second line came over the boards, the Kadri line does a good job of moving the puck up ice. Kadri threw a big check, maintained possession, and Franson mustered a good shot through. After a fourth line shift went in Winnipeg’s favour, a half a change later Kulemin received a pass off the bench from McClement for a break away, which Pavelec turned away. Who saw that backhand-forehand move coming from Kulemin? Oh, everybody, you say?
- A couple of shifts later, Holland, Bodie and Raymond line + Gunnar/Dion were totally hemmed in with four attempts to leave the zone denied. A completely dominant shift from the Jets.
- Soon after came yet another good shift from the 4th line; Ashton got in deep on the cycle and drew a penalty. Dion and Franson got burned on their own powerplay again on a 2-on-1, which Reimer turned away with a good save. As is the rule in hockey, the rush came back the other way, led by Dion. After a shot on net, the puck worked back to Franson, to Kessel, and to Dion, who fired home a rocket.
- Thirty seconds after the goal, Gunnarsson filled in Wheeler from behind – a dumb penalty. A small scrum ensured and Gleason gave it to both Scheifele and Trouba before Stuart arrived and filled Gleason in from the side. Gleason motioned to drop his gloves while the refs were trying to break it up. Gleason is a nasty piece of business.
- On the ensuring PP, the Jets scored on a nice pass/shot deflection by the center in the high slot, Bryan Little, in an overload set up. The redirect beat Reimer through the five hole.
- Still on the PP, the Jets scored again, as this game looked to be getting away from the Leafs. Bogosian fired a bullet from the point that Reimer was hunting to find right up until it was in the net. That was it for Reimer, as the Leafs have now pulled their starter in two straight.
- An important answer came just a minute and one second later, from an unlikely source. Troy Bodie scored on a great little rush started by Rielly, firing a no-wind-up snapper over the glove of Pavelec.
- After another penalty draw by Kadri, who at least check is second in the league in this category, Rielly did a fine job gaining the zone. After some movement, Lupul drew a penalty off of Wheeler for hooking. Despite a 5 on 3 for 45 seconds, both were killed off despite some good chances from Kessel, Bozak and JVR (x2).
- Ashton continues to do some small things effectively, this time initiating a rush and dropping an – albeit awkward – drop pass to Gleason. Gleason just got the shot off with little windup and it deflected off Trouba’s skate and through the legs of Pavelec. Dion, Bodie and Gleason (+4th line) produced the goals so far. Would the 1st line or 2nd line wake up in the third?
- The first five minutes of this period were pretty conservative. In another good 4th line shift with the Rielly/Gardiner pairing, Rielly diced up the Jets’ fourth line and got a shot off. McClement nearly had one after a one-timer off the rebound.
- The Jets were attacking the right-half of the ice all night long when Franson was on, beating him wide with consistency, or forcing dump ins into Franson’s corner to get him to hurry a pass.
- Setoguchi took an over the glass penalty half way through the final period. Dion and Franson were struggling to hold the line on PP#1. Nothing doing there, but PP#2 with a PMD (or two) on it makes the world of difference. Having two shooters on PP#1 is doing this team no favours on the PP, which is good, but could be even better. Dion and Franson are getting it done, but there’s a lot of scrambling and a lot of bobbled pucks, on top of being a power play unit that seems to give up too many scoring chances against.
- Credit where it is due, after a tough night, Franson made a great play to strip his man a 2 on 1 and maybe save the game. Kessel scored going the other way, which means he’s scored a goal in every single game vs. the Winnipeg Jets (eight in a row). Note the sneaky little battle win by Bozak and Dion’s adept hold of the blueline before the goal.
- In OT, Phaneuf was the end of a long shift amid a 26+ minute night. You could see him huffing and puffing on the replay as Byfgulien came at him, and he afforded too much space there which allowed Big Buff to step into the slot. Gleason committed the Don Cherry sin; as he reached in, his stick might have confused Bernier’s read off of Byfgulien’s blade, as this wrister beat Bernier between the pad and the glove and really should have been stopped.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets Boxscore
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