All good things must come to an end.

Your game in 10:

1.   There isn’t much sense in over-analyzing this one. It was one of those nights for the Leafs. There were several odd-man rushes with no shot on goal generated. The Toronto power play was tripping over its feet in the second and third periods. The Leafs mustered just 23 shots on goal, but they also missed the net 15 times in the first 40 minutes. Igor Shesterkin made every big save required. Jimmy Vesey went around TJ Brodie and lifted one bar down for the game-winner.

Not a bad effort by the Leafs by any means, and another game they generally controlled and gave up very little defensively, but they lacked a bit of sharpness and killer edge in the offensive third.

2.    The Leafs continued to defend more than adequately at five-on-five in this game. The Rangers were credited with a total of three high-danger chances and 0.9 expected goals for the entire 60 minutes. That’s right up there with the 2-1 win over Boston for their best 5v5 defensive performance of the season by those metrics.

The power-play goal by Filip Chytil, one point-blank look shorthanded for Mika Zibenejad, and the Jimmy Vesey goal off the odd-man rush for the game-winner represent nearly the entire picture in terms of clear-cut scoring chances against the Leafs. Alas, two of them went in.

3.    As for the game-winning goal by Jimmy Vesey late in the second period, we’ve seen TJ Brodie time that “sweep check” to perfection many times in his Leaf career, but it wasn’t well-executed this time.

Especially with John Tavares quickly making up ground on Vincent Trocheck on the backcheck and Vesey out by the faceoff dot, Brodie had the time to slow play it a little more, run Vesey out of space, and force him to make a tough play on his backhand just by staying on his feet a little longer and defending the middle ice. He laid out quite early, and it didn’t work out. Vesey made a patient play around him and pulled off a great finish at Matt Murray’s near post.

The odd-man rush started off a turnover up ice by Auston Matthews as Conor Timmins gambled and lost — the Leafs strongly encourage their D to be active about jumping up, but it was a tough play for Matthews to make through a couple of sticks off of his backhand, and the pass might’ve actually been intended for John Tavares in the middle anyway. That wasn’t the best of reads there at both ends of the rink.

4.    Even though there were only four penalties called in this game (three on the Rangers), the biggest swing factor in this game was special teams.

The Leafs collapsed on a down-low play and couldn’t get sorted into their shape again prior to Filip Chytil’s 1-0 goal on the lone Rangers power play. The Leafs’ power play was a mess on their last two opportunities, particularly the one in the second period. They won the initial draw, but Rasmus Sandin passed it directly to the other team so nonchalantly it looked like he forgot the Leafs were wearing white tonight. The Leafs gave it away a few more times on entries, and Mitch Marner fell over at one point at his own blue line also leading to a turnover.

It turned into a bit of a keystone cops routine on the power play (“just horrible,” Marner said after the game). Zibanejad and Kreider also went on a couple of partial two-on-one shorthanded breaks, one of which Matt Murray came up huge on (it appeared he got a piece of Zibanejad’s shot) to keep the Leafs in the game early in the third period.

5.    The Leafs’ best stretch of offensive-zone pressure was a doozy of a push nearly halfway through the second period where they rolled multiple lines over the boards at a tired Rangers group, including a “load it up on the fly” wrinkle from Sheldon Keefe.

We’ve seen it after penalty kills and in advantageous offensive-zone-faceoff situations, but tonight, Keefe managed to mix in a John TavaresAuston MatthewsMitch Marner shift two minutes into a near three-minute shift for the Rangers. Matthews missed the net on a one-timer from the high slot, and Rasmus Sandin slid a chance wide after pinching down to the back post, but it nearly paid off. The thinking on his feet by Keefe to get the fresh legs of Tavares, Matthews, and Marner over the boards against a bunch of defenders stuck in their own end sucking dirty pond water was commendable.

Keefe also reunited them for a shift with 15 minutes left in the third, and then he left Marner with Matthews and Bunting for a few shifts before it was extra-attacker time. It’s nice that Keefe doesn’t sit on his hands in these situations. Thanks to the flexible approach he’s taken during the Leafs’ streak, he is also able to switch fluidly between the pairs in his top six in critical situations without much worry about an adjustment period knowing each has spent substantial time together this season.

6.    Coming off of the Leafs’ unsuccessful power play in the third period, Sheldon Keefe threw together a line of Pontus Holmberg, Alex Kerfoot, and Zach Aston-Reese. An excellent play off the rush by Holmberg to work a give-and-go with Kerfoot and then swat a backhand pass over to Aston-Reese all alone in front created one of the Leafs’ best chances to tie the game in the final 20 minutes.

Holmberg is really coming on strong with his confidence with the puck as of late. Earlier in the game, he also drew a penalty driving the net hard on a two-on-one with Denis Malgin that Malgin didn’t handle very well (Malgin is now pointless in his last 10 games and a minus-four over that time… the clock should be ticking here on trying something different in such a prime spot in the lineup alongside Tavares and Marner).

As he’s adapted to the league quickly and his confidence with the puck has grown rapidly, Holmberg’s gone from “can take shifts in the league this year” to “can play regularly in the league this year” to “might be able to drive that fourth line this year.”  He’s up to seven points in 16 games after the three-point game against Anaheim, and he easily could’ve been on the score sheet again tonight.

That said, the grind of the 82-game schedule will be a big test for him in his first full season in North America. He’s also still figuring out the faceoff dot with just a 42% success rate there.

7.    In addition to Pontus Holmberg’s emergence, an encouraging sign for the Leafs’ bottom six since the win against LA has been the lift the David KampfPierre Engvall combination is giving the Leafs’ third line. Over their last three games, the pair has been on the ice for three goals for/zero against and is controlling over 70% of the scoring chances.

Engvall is in the midst of his best stretch of the season by far — that’s maybe not saying much given his poor start, but he’s moving his feet, using his reach and size more assertively, and making the extra efforts to recover pucks and extend cycles. He had some excellent sequences on the cycle in this game, especially as the Leafs were pushing in the third. Those efforts earned him a few shifts on a line with John Tavares and William Nylander.

8.   Five games, five points for Conor Timmins in a Leaf sweater after his nice shot-for-tip into David Kampf, leading to a rebound and the Michael Bunting goal.

The coaching staff is showing plenty of belief in Timmins offensively, mixing him in on the second power-play unit and also putting him out there with Rasmus Sandin with the goalie pulled for a spell before the Leafs got William Nylander on the ice for an offensive-zone draw. His poise and decision-making with the puck both at the offensive blue line and in his own end breaking the puck out have been pretty consistent so far. A big test for a relatively-inexperienced defenseman in his position: just how bad are the bad games when they inevitably arrive?

9.   There may well be more opportunity in store for Conor Timmins with Timothy Liljegren exiting the second period of tonight’s game with an upper-body injury (to be assessed on Friday). Liljegren did not return for the third period.

Assuming Dean Chynoweth and Sheldon Keefe want to stick with Mark Giordano next to Justin Holl, Liljegren’s potential absence could mean Timmins takes on more even-strength minutes next to TJ Brodie, and Rasmus Sandin pairs off with Mac Hollowell (assuming he’s recalled again). There is also the option to pair off Sandin-Timmins, with Brodie next to Hollowell while rotating Brodie through different pairs situationally. 

What could change the situation: Jordie Benn was activated off of IR on Thursday, but just how close he is to returning to game action remains to be seen.

10.    Bravo, Mitch. What a run.

Heat Map: 5v5 Shot Attempts

Game Flow: 5v5 Shot Attempts