Toronto Maple Leafs: Week in review

  

On Monday, Ilya Mikheyev was on the ice with skating coach Barb Underhill. He’s on track after suffering a severe injury in New Jersey Devils on Dec. 27.

Tuesday vs. Arizona Coyotes

Jack Campbell started for the Leafs on Tuesday night, with Michael Hutchinson backing him up. Frederik Anderson, day-to-day with a shoulder injury, skated the morning of but the decision was made that he wasn’t quite ready yet. 

Leafs gave up an early goal due to blown coverage and Christian Dvorak taking advantage. They drew a penalty minutes later, yet could not get a zone entry. The club battled back to tie it up with a blast from the point by Tyson Barrie, tipped in by Zach Hyman. The score remained the same throughout the rest of the period. In the second period, both goalies were called upon to make some great saves. 

However, neither goalie broke until the last minute when Coyotes retook lead, the goal coming from Carl Soderberg. That goal marked Soderberg’s 100th NHL tally.  The Leafs tied it up early in the third, with John Tavares making a no look pass from his knees to a wide open Hyman. Hyman now has 27 points in 27 games. The rest of the third period, and the game headed to the extra frame with a score of 2-2 with the Leafs needing to kill the last portion of a penalty called on Hyman at the end of the game. Just as the penalty expired, it appeared as though the Coyotes had scored. However, the play was reviewed for goaltender interference. 

It was determined that there was indeed goaltender interference on the play, and the goal was called back. Soon after, Kasperi Kapanen came streaking down the wing and beat Adin Hill glove side, capping off the best game he has had in some time. 

After the game, the Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet, speaking on the goalie interference call, remarked that “it’s Toronto’s call in Toronto.” 

 

On Wednesday, the Leafs re-signed forward Pierre Engvall to a two year deal with an annual average value of $1.25 million. The former seventh round pick has registered 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 35 games with the Maple Leafs this season, and is currently centering the third line.  

Wednesday vs. Dallas Stars

Andersen made his return to the crease to face the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. Denis Gurianov made the Leafs pay for an early turnover, beating Andersen five-hole to give the Stars the lead. Andreas Johnsson, who just returned from a broken foot, collided with Kapanen, and immediately left the game.

Radek Faksa scored on the first shot of the second period, and the Leafs followed that up by taking two consecutive two minute minor penalties, which they managed to kill off. Right off of a subsequent draw, Kyle Clifford dropped the gloves with Jamie Oleksiak

After the fight, the Leafs seemed to gain momentum and the ice tilted in their favour. On a delayed penalty for the Stars, captain Jamie Benn had some creative measures to attempt to gain possession.

Auston Matthews cut the Stars lead in half, and the score remained 2-1 for the rest of the period. Within the first 90 seconds of the third period, Tyler Seguin broke his 17-game goalless drought to extend the Stars lead. With just 1:19 left in the game, Hyman brought the Leafs within one. However, the effort was too little too late, and the Leafs fell to the Stars by a final score of 3-2. Post-game, Sheldon Keefe made it clear that Johnsson’s knee injury is “not going to be short-term.”

The Leafs headed into the weekend with a Saturday Sunday back-to-back, with Campbell set to start the first game and Andersen the second. 

Saturday vs. Ottawa Senators

Prior to the Battle of Ontario on Saturday night, Ottawa Senators head coach DJ Smith made headlines by announcing that ex-Leaf Nikita Zaitsev would be hard matched to Auston Matthews.

Matthews opened the scoring less than five minutes into the game, streaking down the wing and beating Marcus Hogberg. With this goal, Matthews tied David Pastrnak for the league lead in goals, and hit the 70 point mark.

Despite great chances both ways, the score stayed stagnant until first intermission. 

Muzzin broke Marcus Högberg with a point shot early in the second. Timothy Liljegren recorded his first NHL point with a secondary assist on the goal. 

Minutes later, William Nylander piled on, getting a lucky bounce off of a John Tavares shot. Connor Brown got the Senators back into the game, but the second period ended 3-1. Cody Goloubef tipped a Thomas Chabot shot to cut the Leafs lead to one. At the other end, Zach Hyman was robbed by a sprawling Craig Andersen

Campbell was called to make some key saves in the last minutes before Mitch Marner sealed the game with an empty netter. The Leafs toppled the Senators by a final score of 4-2. 

Late Saturday night, the Leafs recalled Egor Korshkov and Mason Marchement from the Toronto Marlies. 

Sunday vs. Buffalo Sabres

Marchment and Korshkov drew into Sunday’s game, their third game in as many days. Early in the game, Rasmus Sandin blocked a shot. He immediately returned to the bench and soon after disappeared down the tunnel. Andersen stood steady in the first, bailing out the team in front of him. One save in particular was very close, but upon review it was determined that there was no goal on the play. 

Near the end of the period, Muzzin took a puck to the head, and immediately went down the tunnel. The score remained 0-0 after the first, with the Sabres quadrupling the Leafs’ shot totals. 

Jake Muzzin returned to start the second period. Just over a minute into the second, Johan Larsson collected Andersen’s rebound and gave the Sabres the lead. Sandin returned to the bench halfway through the period. The Leafs began applying pressure, with Carter Hutton being forced to make some great saves. 

Directly following this save, the Sabres trapped a tired Leafs group in their own zone, leading to Conor Sheary tipping the puck past Andersen. Egor Korshkov dropped to one knee to snap the puck past Hutton for his first NHL goal in his first NHL game. 

Hyman tied the game early in the third frame, tipping a shot from Muzzin on point. 

The Sabres got a powerplay off of a questionable call on Jake Muzzin. Jack Eichel got his 33rd of the season to grab the lead back. After the powerplay goal, the momentum shifted in the favour of the Sabres, and they scored two more goals in the next two minutes. The Sabres held on, and the Leafs were downed by a final score of 5-2. 

Quick facts

  • Andreas Johnsson has been put on LTIR, and is expected to miss at least eight weeks following surgery on his knee.
  • The win over Ottawa was the club’s first regulation win since Jan. 29.
  • Jack Campbell is 3-0-1 in his starts with the Leafs, meaning that Frederik Andersen can hopefully get more rest in the latter half of the season .
  • The Leafs are four points up on the Florida Panthers, but the Panthers have two games in hand. However, the Leafs are one point behind the Philadelphia Flyers, and two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Islanders.
  • Auston Matthews and David Pastrnak are tied for the league lead in goals with 42. Alexander Ovechkin sits just behind them with 40.
  • As reported by James Mirtle, the Leaf’s are now on a 97.3 point pace, quite close to last year’s total of 100, which is surprising due to their dismal start.
  • According to Chris Johnston, the Leafs are nearing a four-year extension for Jake Muzzin that, for CBA reasons, will likely not be finalized until after March 1.

 

Center Ice Forums Toronto Maple Leafs: Week in review

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    Cristina Caruso
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    On Monday, Ilya Mikheyev was on the ice with skating coach Barb Underhill. He’s on track after suffering a severe injury in New Jersey Devils on Dec.
    [To continue reading full article, click here: Toronto Maple Leafs: Week in review]

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