Toronto Maple Leafs: Games two and three recap

  

Game two

The Toronto Maple Leafs were coming off of being shut out in game one, and were desperate to break Columbus goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.

Blue Jacket blue liner Dean Kukan left game after a big hit by Kyle Clifford on the first shift.

The Leafs had some good chances early, as well as an unsuccessful power play.

Maple Leaf netminder Fredrik Andersen was forced to make a big save on a shorthanded two-on-one rush from Columbus.

With Kukan still out, Columbus defender Zach Werenski took an awkward fall and needed his hand taped up. However, both defenders would end up returning to the game.

For the first part of the second, the Blue Jackets and Leafs traded power plays, and despite a number of chances, neither goalie was broken.

Late in the period, Auston Matthews finally broke Korpisalo, tipping in a Zach Hyman pass for a 1–0 Toronto lead. 

Following the second period, shots were 28–8. In fact, throughout the period, the Blue Jackets were held to only four shots at five-on-five action.

Four minutes into the third period, John Tavares buried a breakaway chance to extend the Maple Leaf advantage.

Tavares was arguably the best Leaf player during that game and was definitely playing much better than he had been on Sunday. 

With just under two minutes left in the game, Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin went down after being cross-checked from behind by Blue Jacket forward Pierre-Luc Dubois. 

Muzzin was then stretchered off the ice. He was in contact with medical staff and moving his limbs the entire time, which is a good sign. It appeared as though the medical staff was most concerned about the state of Muzzin’s neck. 

With 42 seconds left, Toronto blue liner Morgan Rielly hit the empty net from his own end to seal the game. 

After the game, Maple Leaf head coach Sheldon Keefe revealed that Muzzin had been brought to a nearby hospital and was responsive. Keene also mentioned that he does not know the protocol, considering Muzzin had left the bubble. 

 

Game three

The Maple Leafs entered game three missing a key defenceman in Muzzin. Muzzin was released from the hospital the day prior, but will not be available for the rest of the play-in series. Martin Marincin drew in for the first time this postseason in Muzzin’s place.

Toronto defender Cody Ceci opened the scoring late in the first period, his shot bouncing off of a skate and in for a 1–0 Leaf lead.

This goal was Ceci’s first shorthanded goal as well as his first postseason goal.

Midway through the second, William Nylander converted on the power play. This was the Leafs’ first five-on-four goal of the series, and it was in a large part due to Mitch Marner.

Shortly after, Nick Robertson notched his first NHL goal. A fun record, Robertson is the first 18-year-old to score a playoff goal for the Leafs in 76 years.

Following the Robertson goal, Elvis Merzlikins replaced Korpisalo in net.

Dubois would shorten the Leafs’ lead on the power play late in the second, and the period ended with a score of 3–1.

The Leafs became sloppy and careless in the third period, something which was a theme throughout this entire season, which lead to a number of odd-man rushes and other good chances for Columbus. Blue Jacket defenseman Seth Jones jumped on a loose puck after a scramble in front of the Leafs’ net to bring the Jackets to within one at 3–2.

Dubois then closed the gap by finishing off a two-on-one to tie the game at 3–3.

The game went into overtime, and Dubois, with his third goal of the night, on a partial breakaway, ended it.

This game looked like almost every regular season Leaf game. The Leafs have a strong first and second period, but absolutely fall apart in the third. As Keefe remarked after the game, the team did not have “any purpose or plan to (their) game.”

The Leafs and Blue Jackets return to the ice Friday at 8 p.m.

Center Ice Forums Toronto Maple Leafs: Games Two and Three Recap

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